Like many Dolphins fans, Dan Marino was a little disappointed to see Miami rookie QB Ryan Tannehill struggle in his debut against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Tannehill threw three interceptions, all during the second quarter when Houston scored 24 unanswered points.
Two of those picks came on throws that were tipped at the line of scrimmage by Houston defensive linemen, but Marino said Monday that those tips are not necessarily Tannehill's fault.
"It depends on what the protection is," Marino explained on Joe Rose's radio show. "If you're doing a quick pass, a three-step drop, sometimes the offensive lineman's gotta cut the guy, get their hands down."
Rose opened the discussion by saying, "I'm calling bull on the offensive line being blamed," but Marino said a quarterback should not necessarily be looking at the opposing defensive line during pass plays.
"A lot of times, it happens so fast you're not ... you can't look at where a defensive lineman is standing and jumping," he said. "I mean, you are looking at a picture downfield, it's almost like a television screen ... it's part of your vision underneath but behind it are receivers and defensive backs and you know you're reading the coverage at the same time."
Marino added that the play being called also has a big impact on whether Tannehill has time to scan the line of scrimmage before a throw. "If the quarterback is setting up quick, [defensive linemen] can see that through the [offensive] linemen, he's going to stop and jump."
Marino said Tannehill could do some extra work in practice to become more comfortable in the pocket, learning when he needs to move laterally towards an open throwing lane.
"I did that twice a week [when I played], where you just work on moving in the pocket and dumping the ball," Marino said.
Each of Tannehill's picks were followed by Texan scoring drives. "Look," head coach Joe Philbin told the him after the game, "now you know where you're at."
"Obviously we have to fix a lot of things," Tannehill said after the game.
This week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders, could be equally tough on the quarterback.
The Raiders gave up just 258 total yards in a loss to the San Diego Chargers on Monday, though Chargers QB Philip Rivers did complete 24 of 33 passes for 231 yards.