When Dolphins legend Dan Marino joined the organization 27 months ago, given the nebulous title of special advisor, it was natural to wonder whether it would lead to a job with a more defined role, such as coaching or personnel evaluations.
Quietly, it has – but without the title.
Dolphins practice-squad quarterback Brandon Doughty said Marino is now very much like a coach and has attended nearly every quarterback meeting (with QB coach Bo Hardegree and the quarterbacks) this season. He’s also often on the field during practice but leaves instructions to the coaches.
“He’s been in all of the meetings this season, except a few when his son got married, and that surprised me,” Doughty said. “He’s dedicated to football and he’s not afraid to speak his mind. His mind is invaluable. I try to pick his brain. He’s very even-keeled. He speaks up. He gives input.”
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What does Marino contribute to the meetings? “Mostly things concept-wise and protections and how to simplify stuff, and how to attack certain coverages,” Doughty said.
Ryan Tannehill said Marino has “definitely thrown out a few ideas here and there. He’s there for support more than anything. He’s in there able to watch tape, there if I have any questions.”
Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said “sometimes guys don’t have a great sense of timing. Dan understands when to help, when not to. He’s been really a good asset. Not that Adam Gase needs much help being aggressive, but we always tease him [when Marino says] take a shot, let’s get the ball upfield.
“I love having Dan in there. He’ll watch the practice tape with us and with some things we’ll ask him, ‘What do you think?’ He’ll give us his opinion.”
Retired star Peyton Manning visited training camp twice because of his relationship with Gase, and Christensen said the running joke in August was that “our two interns are Marino and Manning. We would send them to Starbucks but I think their wives have done that over the years.”
Meanwhile, Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum has allowed Marino to grow as a talent evaluator by watching tape with him, scouting with him and getting his input on college players.
So for anyone who thought Marino’s job would be ceremonial, that’s not the case.
Marino politely reminded me that he avoids doing interviews during this stage of his life but told me earlier this season: “I have really enjoyed being involved. It’s a treat for me.”
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