The newest Washington quarterback, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the club, joined The Ross Tucker Football Podcast and said critics need to take it easy on the young signal-caller.
"It's amazing how much criticism and different things have been thrown his way," Fitzpatrick said of Tua, via the Sun-Sentinel. "It's very difficult to play quarterback in the NFL. I think we keep forgetting that fact. The guy was a rookie last year and came in and went 6-3. We have to have a little bit of patience. I think he's going to do great things."
Fitzpatrick noted the two traits of Tagovailoa's game that give him faith the young quarterback can be the Dolphins' long-term answer are his "elite" accuracy and anticipation throws.
"He's going to learn from last year," Fitzpatrick said. "He's going to learn through this offseason. He's got some continuity with George Godsey and Eric Studesville as [co-offensive] coordinators now. He's going to learn where to go with the ball, how to eliminate things pre-snap to really unleash that elite accuracy. And he throws with anticipation, and that is something you don't see a lot with quarterbacks coming from college to the NFL."
Tua impressed early once he took over for Fitzpatrick a third of the way through the season. His best game came in his second start when he led the Dolphins to a dramatic late win against Arizona. That game showed the traits Fitzpatrick boasted about, including a gorgeous anticipatory TD toss.
Unfortunately, Tagovailoa didn't replicate that performance consistently down the stretch, looking lost many snaps, struggling to read defenses, and didn't seem to trust his arm to fit the pigskin into tight spaces. The issues led to some speculation the Dolphins could move on from Tua swiftly if a better option surfaced.
Despite the surprising early-season benching and having to play closer for Tagovailoa late in the season in a couple of close games, FitzMagic has continued to be Tua's biggest advocate.
"I'm a huge Tua fan. My kids love Tua. Sometimes they play with him on Madden. Sometimes they play with me. But I'm looking forward to big things from him," Fitzpatrick said. "I think he's going to do great. Just in terms of being a leader or guys people can follow, he has all those qualities. I think we just need to have a little bit of patience. He was a rookie last year, and he's going to do great things."