I never thought that in June of 2020 I would actually be addressing whether or not the New England Patriots Jarrett Stidham is better than the Miami Dolphins Tua Tagoaviola, but here we are.
I should also make it clear that this isn’t something I came up with, I’m working on this piece in response to NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms saying it.
"(Stidham is) more talented than Tua," Simms said Tuesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "(Tua) is a creation of Alabama. You don't think Jarrett Stidham or like Justin Herbert would have set the world on fire if they got to play with four first-round receivers and two first-round tackles?"
As a Patriots fan, I want to jump on this narrative and run with it. There would be nothing better than looking at the fans down in Miami and laughing at them for wasting a first round pick on Tua, when they could have just picked up Stidham in the third or fourth round last season. But, as funny as that would be, we need to remember the source, it’s Chris Simms.
This is the same Chris Simms that ranked Tom Brady third on his top 10 all time greatest quarterback list, behind Aaron Rodgers and John Elway. In case you're wondering, Simms had Montana at seventh behind Peyton Manning, Bret Favre, and Dan Marino. So, using Chris Simms to troll another fan base would be a little irresponsible, even for a Patriots fan boy like myself.
I’m not comfortable saying Stidham is more talented than Tua, I don’t think any Patriots fan should be comfortable saying that, but I’ll also point out that we have no idea how either quarterback is going to fare this season, that’s why it’s ridiculous for Simms to not only say it, but for him to double down on it.
Normally I’m a numbers guy, and you’ll see me breaking down stats, and comparing them to others in similar positions, but this time I don’t have to do that. The eye test alone tells me that Tua is more talented than Stidham. That doesn’t mean Tua will definitely have a better career, it just means that he has more talent.
I think a fair comparison would be Aaron Rodgers to Tom Brady. Rodgers is the superior quarterback when it comes to raw talent, athleticism, and arm strength, and any Patriots fan who wants to challenge me on that, needs to just stop living in a fantasy. Rodgers is way more gifted than Brady, but Tommy is more accomplished, and his skill set as a champion, his ability to be so clutch, well out weighs Rodgers attributes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, Rodgers is more talented, but Brady is the better quarterback. That’s why I’m fine saying Tua is the more talented quarterback out of he and Stidham. Just because Tua’s the most skilled, doesn’t mean he’ll be the better quarterback. I’m also not saying Stidham will be the better quarterback, everybody who is going out of their way to compare and make predictions for two quarterbacks who have never started a game in the NFL, you just need to pump your breaks, and remember that we don’t know anything, because there has been nothing to see yet.
This reminds me a little of the whole Josh Allen / Sam Darnold debate. Allen is more accomplished in his young career, but Darnold looks more polished, but I would argue that Allen is more skillful, but Darnold doesn’t make the same consistent mistakes that Allen does. Allen plays for a team with a great coach, a great supporting cast, and it’s fair to say that the Buffalo Bills have the best culture they’ve had since the Jim Kelly days. Darnold on the other hand, plays for Adam Gase who has built nothing but a toxic culture in New York, and took what could have been a decent Jets team and has underachieved that same way he did in Miami. So who is the better quarterback, Josh Allen or Sam Darnold?
So even though I want to run with Chris Simms words and have some fun with an AFC East rival, at this point I think we need to just be a little bit careful, and remember that nobody in sports media has more cold takes than Chris Simms, even though this time I hope he’s right.