Fitzpatrick: ‘There isn’t a better passer’ right now than Tua. And Dolphins’ blitz issue

David Santiago/

A six-pack of Miami Dolphins notes on a Wednesday:

Count Amazon announcer (and former Dolphins quarterback) Ryan Fitzpatrick among those thoroughly impressed by Tua Tagovailoa’s season.

“He’s playing great,” Fitzpatrick said on the AP Pro Football Focus podcast. “Tua lives in that box, in between the numbers, that line of scrimmage to 20 yards. Those throws he’s so effective on because he can see it, because he can anticipate it, because he’s extremely accurate in that box. That’s where he’s just been feasting this year.

“Some of the Tyreek [Hill] stuff down the field has been really impressive. A lot has been short where Tyreek is coming back to make plays. The stuff over the middle of the field — there isn’t a better passer in the league right now than Tua and what he’s done.”

Fitzpatrick said: “Tyreek has helped a lot. Mike McDaniel has helped a lot. A lot of that has just been confidence. Mike came in and said, ‘look, you are our guy. I love you for who you are.’”

The Dolphins are still blitzing a lot, even after acquiring Bradley Chubb and even after losing their best defensive back blitzer in Brandon Jones.

And the results have been mixed.

Dolphins @3YardsPerCarry podcaster Chris Kouffman made an interesting point, noting that opposing quarterbacks have a 114 passer rating against the Dolphins when they blitz this season.

Opposing quarterback ratings are much better from a defensive standpoint when Miami doesn’t blitz — 92 before the Chubb trade and 66 after, as Kouffman noted.

The Dolphins are 27th in passer rating against; only five teams are permitting a higher rating than Miami’s 96.3.

The next two quarterbacks that the Dolphins face have been slightly better against the blitz than when they’re not blitzed, per Pro Football Focus.

The 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo has a 107.8 passer rating when blitzed, 100.9 when he’s not.

The Chargers’ Justin Herbert has a 94.8 passer rating when blitzed, 91.9 when he’s not.

Buffalo’s Josh Allen has thrived against the blitz in recent years, but this season, he has a better passer rating when not blitzed (100.6) than when blitzed (83.3).

More national feedback on the Dolphins: CBS’ Nate Burleson said the Dolphins are the biggest threat to Kansas City in the AFC, adding: “Tua has not lost a game he has started and finished all season. They are one of the few teams that has improved every single week, and just imagine what they’re going to be in the month of December. Their offense is going to travel well in December and January.”...

CBS” Bill Cowher said: “I just worry about their defense. That’s the only thing. It’s a unique offense, very quick passing. It’s off of play action, RPO system. Most of the time it’s between the numbers, over the middle, over the middle. It is quick, efficient. It’s hard to prepare for something as quick and efficient as this offense is.”...

CBS’ Boomer Esiason said this Dolphins offense “reminds me of when Dan Marino was playing there. It’s all down the field.”

On a double-header day for CBS, Fox is sending the cross-flexed Dolphins-49ers game to a sizable percent of the country, including Minneapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Atlanta, Houston, Hawaii, much of the Mountain Time Zone and Northern California.

But Miami-Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples-Fort Myers are the only Florida cities getting the game. That’s in part because some affiliates prefer a 1 p.m. game over a 4:05 p.m. game, and Tampa and Orlando are airing the 1 p.m. Philadelphia-Tennessee game instead.

… Fox assigned its No. 2 team, Joe Davis and Daryl Johnston to the Dolphins game. Here are Sunday’s TV regionalization maps.

The Dolphins coach staff can’t stop raving about receiver Trent Sherfield, who returns to San Francisco on Sunday. After catching nine passes for 87 yards in 17 games for the 49ers last season, he has 24 catches for 280 yards in 11 games this season.

“He’s one of those guys that maybe his stat line doesn’t really show sometimes how valuable they are to us, but he’s one of those guys that is really an integral part to our offense,” offensive coordinator Frank Smith said. “He’s one of those guys that you’re going to remember, years after this team gets reshuffled or you move on and you look back, he’s one of the guys that you’ll always remember for his love of the game because you can tell guys who love the game do the little things that don’t show up on the stat line….

“[You see] how physical he is in his game, and then now being able to see the production come in the passing game is just awesome. You can’t say enough about the guy. We are fortunate enough to have him here.”

Per @nflrookiewatxh, Kader Kohou is one of only three rookie cornerbacks (minimum 300 snaps) who hasn’t given up a touchdown pass this season. The others: the Saints’ Alontae Taylor and Houston’s Derek Stingley Jr.