Twenty starts. That’s what the unwritten rule for NFL folks to define what you have at quarterback. Every sport has such inexact thresholds. In baseball, 1,000 at-bats supposedly decide who a hitter is. In hockey, 300 starts make a defenseman a finished product.
Tua’s four starts are starting to fill in the blanks of a can and can’t checklist. Can: He’s accurate. He’s agile. He has a wonderfully quick release. He’s mature. He’s has a leader’s personality.
Can’t: He can’t throw open players yet. He can’t solve all defense and so holds the ball too long – he held it an average 2.84 seconds last Sunday according to Next Gen stats, compared to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2.3 seconds.
Those are correctable can’ts. One that isn’t came on the first play of the fourth quarter, the one he lost two yards on, the one a NFL scout said to watch again for what it meant.