Tagovailoa was the Dolphins’ first-round draft choice, fifth overall
Bob Griese and Dan Marino are former Miami Dolphins quarterbacks and Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Surely Dolphins fans hope Tua Tagovailoa can somehow, one day, be considered worthy of inclusion in a discussion about Griese and Marino.
All three were first rounders. Griese and Marino led the Dolphins to Super Bowls. And on Monday, when discussing Don Shula’s greatness, Griese steered his remarks to include Marino and Tua.
Griese said that part of what made Shula special was his ability to adjust to the strengths of the players on his roster. Griese operated a balanced, ball-control offense. Once Marino arrived, it was an aerial explosion.
“We were good at running the ball, so that’s what we did,” Greise said. “Then you get Dan Marino comes in and why wouldn’t you throw?”
Griese noted that Marino was able to limit sacks and hits for two reasons. First, Miami’s offensive line was strong. And second, Marino’s quick release.
“Marino just got rid of it,” Griese said. “If there wasn’t anybody open and there was a guy coming at him right down the middle, Marino would get rid of that football. That was a great trait to have.”
Which brings us to Tua, the fifth pick in the most recent NFL Draft.
Griese brought up the idea that Tua, who has had an injured hip and ankles, would benefit from watching Marino film. The hope, of course, is that Tua could limit sacks and hits by studying Marino’s self-preservation decision-making.
“That’s a great coaching point,” Griese said. “If you don’t see anybody, don’t take the sack and get rid of the ball. That’s going to be one of the great things that the Dolphins are probably going to tell Tua (Tagovailoa) when he gets in here is look at Marino. Look at some films of Marino. If nobody is open, get rid of the ball and don’t take the sack.”
Coincidentally, Marino was 13 as a Dolphin and Tagovailoa wore 13 as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide. It has not yet been revealed what number Tua will wear with Miami, but 13 is retired.
For that matter, so is 12, worn by Griese.
Recently, in a conversation with a few South Florida reporters, Alabama coach Nick Saban echoed some of Griese’s sentiments.
“I think the first thing, and this is probably true of all players, is stay healthy,” Saban said. ”Number one thing we've tried to convince (Tua) of here is he's got to learn self preservation is part of the job. Tua's a great competitor. You don't want to take his competitive spirit away. He's always trying to make a play, even when the play breaks down.
“And that's good. He does it well. He's made a ton of plays in those circumstances. But I still think there are times when there's just nothing here. Several times when he got hurt here, I felt like there's no reason for him to even get hit. The receiver fell down, whatever the circumstance was, there's nothing there. Play the next play. Sometimes the other guys wins, but I think that's probably number one, number two, he is so instinctive.”
On the day Tagovailoa was drafted, he praised Marino.
“For me, I’m not too worried about what number I have,” Tagovailoa said. “I understand number 13 is retired and it should be. Dan Marino, he – he’s the GOAT. He’s like the mayor out there, and I have much respect for him.”
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