Bryce Young gets high praise from Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel ahead of Dolphins vs. Panthers matchup

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Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are facing the winless Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but despite their opponent’s record, head coach Mike McDaniel and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said they see good things in Panthers quarterback Bryce Young.

“That means a lot — the things that he’s done over there at Alabama, I mean, I couldn’t even do,” Tagovailoa said of Young. “So, for him to have won the Heisman, for him to have done the things that he’s done, breaking records over there at Alabama, it’s a testament of the family that he comes from. It’s a testament of his hard work.

“As he’s maneuvering his way throughout the league and he’s finding out the type of person that he is, the type of player that he is, I know that he’ll continue to grow and continue to find ways to do good and things like that. So I got all the respect in the world for Bryce, and I wish him the best.”

Young is in his first season after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft out of the University of Alabama, which also produced Tagovailoa. The 22-year-old is struggling, evidenced by his stats and the Panthers’ win-loss record, especially when compared to No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud, a quarterback out of Ohio State University who has been impressive in helping the Houston Texans to an unexpected 2-3 start.

It was to be expected that Tagovailoa would have kind things to say about his fellow Alabama product. The 25-year-old played three seasons at Alabama and was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, a few months before Young began his freshman season playing behind Mac Jones under head coach Nick Saban.

Young took over as the starter and won the Heisman Trophy for the 2021 season. Like his counterpart, Tagovailoa also was a member of a college football national champion (Tagovailoa in 2018 and Young in 2021).

The praise from McDaniel may carry more weight as it comes from someone who is becoming recognized as one of the great offensive minds in the game. In their second season under his offensive system, the Dolphins lead the NFL in almost every major offensive category and just set the league record for most yards gained in the first five games of a season.

The coach also has brought out the best in Tagovailoa, who leads the league in passing yards, is third in completion percentage and tied for second in touchdown passes. Under Panthers head coach Frank Reich, Young ranks 30th in passing yards, 22nd in completion percentage and is tied for 17th in touchdown passes.

The Dolphins enter Week 6 leading the AFC East with a 4-1 record, and there is a danger that they could be looking ahead to a highly anticipated prime-time matchup at the Philadelphia Eagles coming up in Week 7.

But at least McDaniel and Tagovailoa think there is an impressive quarterback on the other sideline who could pose a real challenge on Sunday.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.