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Bryce Young improving, handles the good and bad "like a pro" 

Bryce Young

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Amid Carolina's 0-6 start, much has been made of Bryce Young's gradual progression – how it's going, where he needs to improve, and what kind of timeline he's on in Year 1.

The rookie quarterback has been flashing at times and growing acclimated to the NFL, and head coach Frank Reich has been mindful to mention that there have been positives to cipher out of a challenging start for their retooled offense.

The Panthers lost 42-21 at Miami, falling to the league's top offense in a game that showed how far there is to go. But at the end of the first quarter, they led 14-0 and strung together efficient touchdown drives that showed at least some hints of what they could be.

"Just two drives, really – Bryce was super sharp, the offense was good," Reich said. "We were protecting well, running the ball well, mixing it, feeling like we should feel."

But they allowed an onslaught of 35 unanswered points en route to the game's outcome. (The Panthers' offense didn't score again, as Eddy Piñeiro missed a 43-yard field goal attempt before halftime, and that second-half touchdown came from cornerback Troy Hill on an interception against Dolphins backup quarterback Mike White.)

But as frustrating as it is, Carolina's leaders have reason to focus on how to build from the good that happened at Hard Rock Stadium as they head into the Week 7 bye week.

"(It) probably is what is most frustrating about where we're at right now, is because we know what we can do," wide receiver Adam Thielen, who was Young's favorite target once again on an 11-catch, 115-yard day. "That was … a glimpse of what you can do, what this offense can do when we trust it, when we do our assignments, when we started making plays and let Bryce start negotiating after we get the run game going. I thought those two possessions, we scored because of our running game. And we need that moving forward. Because when we can run the ball, we're dangerous."

The Panthers posted 108 rushing yards on 25 attempts, with the bulk of those coming from Chuba Hubbard (88 yards on 19 runs). Hubbard was the primary back with Miles Sanders out.

Supported by that run game, Young threw for 224 yards on 23-of-38 passing with no interceptions and one touchdown (thrown to Thielen).

It was Young's first game without a fumble or an interception, and he gradually built up a more consistent downfield passing game, taking more shots and making longer plays. He completed a pass of at least 20 yards to three different pass catchers – Thielen, DJ Chark Jr., and tight end Tommy Tremble, as those receivers often ran for additional yards after making the catch, and there were six completions of 15 yards or more.

"I think he was pretty decisive and confident out there," Chark said. "(He) was able to control the tempo because we were going a lot of up-tempo. And he was able to take control of the huddle, have us in and out of the huddle on time. I feel like we had less penalties today. So that's just a credit to him, just being efficient in and out."

Young's teammates can find the positives of his performance while he continues to hold himself accountable.

He hasn't won a game in the NFL yet, so while the improvements are in front of them, he wants to work to see them come to fruition.

"It's tough," Young said. "I love this team, believe in this team; I'm blessed and happy to be a part of this team. And obviously, it's not where we want to be, hasn't been what we wanted. It's tough, but we've got to keep building, keep growing, trying to find things to continue to improve on, things that we've had. We've got to expand on it. We've got to keep building on the positives, and then, obviously, (got) a lot to clean up."

And in the perspectives of veterans such as outside linebacker Brian Burns, Young's mentality through the weeks ahead will be can make a difference, even as they struggle through an 0-6 start.

"He's handled this – I don't think any other rookie would handle it like the type of way he's been handling it," Burns said of Young's mentality through the early challenges. "Things might not be going his way during the game, but he continues to keep his poise and keep being a leader at such an early point in his career. So that's surprised me a lot. …

"I tip my hat to the way he's handled it because he's young. He's got a lot on his mind – a lot of people talking about it, whatever the case may be, but he handles it like a pro."

View all the action from the Panthers' game in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins.

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