The matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday will feature the best young quarterback in the NFL and one of the most promising prospects at the position.
There are some similarities between Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes, beyond the one the Dolphins hope will happen in the next few years with Tagovailoa hopefully becoming a star in the NFL like Mahomes.
The obvious first one is the fact both players share the same agent, Leigh Steinberg.
The second is more subtle, and it was pointed out by Mahomes when he spoke to the media Wednesday, and that's the presence of a great veteran mentor for their rookie seasons.
Mahomes got to watch and learn behind Alex Smith before the Chiefs unleashed him on the NFL in 2018 — after Mahomes started the 2017 regular season finale — and Tagovailoa has had the same benefit of learning from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"He's just he's super talented," Mahomes said of Tagovailoa. "He understands what it takes to win football games. I think that comes from playing at Alabama and winning those national championships there. He understands exactly what needs to be done to win football games, so for me as far as Alex and me, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and him, I think they have a great dynamic there where they like me and Alex, two great football players that just want to go out there and win in whatever way possible and help out the team. So obviously it works, and they’ve won a lot of football games and it'll be a great challenge for us this week to beat a really good football team.”
In a sense, Tagovailoa is ahead of where Mahomes was as a rookie first-round pick in 2017.
Tagovailoa will go into the matchup against Mahomes with an impressive 99.4 passer rating, but more importantly a 4-1 record as a starter.
Mahomes made a great point Wednesday when he assessed Tagovailoa's performance so far this season.
“You can see it from his college career and then now in his pro career; he knows how to manage the game and manage the situation," Mahomes said. "I mean he does a good job of knowing that his defense, his special teams are working and can do what he can on offense to put up enough points to win football games. He's done that his whole career and that's truly a remarkable thing.
"I mean, that's something that I wasn't that good at my first year here and obviously he has the talent. He can make all the throws, he can roll to his right, to his left and throw off balance, and he can run and make stuff happen too, so that veteran kind of mental mind-set that he has, I think it's truly special at this time in his career.”
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid also had praise for Tua when he spoke to Dolphins writers in a conference call, as well as mentioning Fitzpatrick and his influence.
"He’s doing great," Reid said of Tua. "He's a heck of a football player. And he’s got a great teacher right there. Not only his coach but also the old man who's also a good player that's also there (Fitzpatrick). There’s nothing better than having one of those guys (like Fitz) to be able to talk to and just kind of walk you through it, see how he goes about his job and everything else. It's great for the Dolphins and the NFL. These young guys coming in are tremendous. And he's one of them."