The Dolphins struggled, at times, to consistently generate chunk plays during Joe Philbin‘s first year at the helm. That, along with a lack of takeaways, prompted what ended up being a bold offseason — a series of transformative moves made the roster faster, younger, more dynamic.
What comes next, though, will depend on what happens in the interim, before the 2013 season actually starts. Will the new pieces — Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller — help Ryan Tannehill go from solid to spectacular during year two?
Dan Marino, the former Dolphins quarterback, told Sirius/XM that he thinks are looking up, especially if Tannehill can build on his rookie season.
“I think that they are going to be better offensively,” Marino said. “You need that person, inside, inside that 10-yard line, inside the 20, that’s going to make that play for you and not get field goals – (get) touchdowns. Let’s be honest, that’s what it’s all about.”
Though he came in with a grasp of the playbook — Tannehill played under Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M — and pedigree, just getting experience was key to close the gap on some of his fellow draft classmates. If that’s the case, Tannehill’s rookie season was an unequivocal success — he started all 16 games for the Dolphins last season, breaking the franchise record for passing yards by a rookie. Now, though, the stakes have been raised, with Marino saying most of the burden is on the young quarterback’s shoulders.
“It’s going to be about Ryan Tannehill and does he take that jump and can get them to being a playoff-caliber football team.”
Since his playing days have ended, Marino’s scope has broadened, of course, with his duties on the CBS’ NFL Today. Now he watches the entire league, doing highlights and analysis every Sunday, but he still keeps tabs on his former team.
“I’m still a Dolphin at heart,” Marino said. “I’m excited about South Florida getting a team back that they’re going to be very proud of and a team that, in my mind, is going to have a chance to make the playoffs.”
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