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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Dolphins Move Forward, Get Vote of Confidence From Marino

The Miami Dolphins offense took a turn towards becoming a more efficient unit in 2014. The quarterback play of Ryan Tannehill was much better as he became only the second passer in team history to throw for over 4,000 yards. The running game produced a 1,000-yard rusher in Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry led the team in receptions as a rookie.

The offensive line still needs help, but it was certainly better than it was last season.

If you ask Dan Marino, the Dolphins moves in free agency, the NFL Draft and subsequent changes during the season with players and injuries make this a franchise that is moving on up.

“It’s exciting,” the Hall of Fame quarterback told host Greg Likens and former teammate Sam Madison on “It’s the first time I actually watched film more than I did when I was doing TV. I did a little watching film on certain games, but just to do that, the excitement of it, being around the players, going to practice and being at the games when the fans are there and the excitement, it makes you feel like you want to play a game. I wish I could. That’s the truth. It’s been a good experience and I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

Marino officially was hired by the Dolphins on Aug. 24 to serve as special advisor and became a regular presence at practice, at games, and in the quarterback meeting room.

While he shared the frustration of everyone in the organization at not reaching the postseason, Marino says he was encouraged by the progress he saw from the Dolphins in 2014.

“I thought (the experience) was great,” Marino said. “I really enjoyed being around the players, being around the coaches, the excitement of that, going to the games. Just understanding what direction the team is going. I think we’re going in the right direction. We lost some close games that we could have won and would have made us a playoff team.

If Tannehill is going to take the next step toward becoming an elite quarterback, having Marino around to led an ear, offer advice or just allow his presence to be felt in the team’s practice facility could go a long way toward the team’s ultimate success.

Tannehill also broke Marino’s single-season team record with 392 completions.

“You know what, that’s just a sign of improvement,” Marino said. “He’s a kid that’s going to continue to grow. As time goes on as an offense, as he understands what they’re doing offensively, we’re just going to get better and better.

“Ryan, he’s a great kid. That (quarterback) room is good, with Matt Moore and Zac (quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor) and everybody that’s involved in there. They’re working hard. Ryan is a smart kid, tough kid, and he’s continuing to grow as a player. ... Anytime a quarterback has a new offense, it takes time. I don’t care if you’re Tom Brady or you’re whoever it is in the league, it takes time when it’s your first year in that and you could see the progress he continually made throughout the year.”

The offense may have shown improvement, but the defense took a step back. Both will be a concern in the off-season.

Miami had a top-5 defense for much of the first 10 weeks. But it's hard not to emphasize the unit's collapse when postseason hopes were on the line. Miami allowed 32.5 points per game in the final six weeks.



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