Dan Marino looms large over Florida NFL quarterbacks

“I’ve never had a guy who can overthrow me as much,” Wallace said of Tannehill, marveling at his arm strength. “Ben [Roethlisberger] could once in a while. This is only the second guy able to do that. If we ever get on the same page, I won’t stop running.”

While a franchise quarterback could be percolating in Miami, it’s a strange brew over in Jacksonville.

And frankly, it’s starting to leave a bitter after-taste.

Gabbert, now in his third year, had done little to prove that the Jaguars did the right thing when they made him the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Gabbert has looked awful at times, including this exhibition season. He threw for just 19 yards on 10 attempts in his first exhibition game, putting veteran journeyman Chad Henne in position to compete for the starting slot.

Although Gabbert looked much sharper the following week against the New York Jets, he suffered a sprained right thumb, which could shake things up in the starting lineup.

The Jags are in a tight pinch from a marketing standpoint. They passed on the opportunity to pursue Tim Tebow in the off-season. Although that seems to be a prudent call given Tebow’s lack of fundamentals, the question that deserves to be asked is: “Could that have been that much worse with Tebow instead of Gabbert at quarterback?”

Tebow is fighting to keep his third-QB backup job with the New England Patriots. Gabbert is fighting for his NFL viability as well.

There’s already some speculation that the Jags — under new management — will resign themselves to being as bad as possible this season with Gabbert at quarterback, in the hopes of getting a true franchise quarterback in the 2014 Draft.

Stuff happens. You never know.

The 1983 NFL Draft is considered one of the best in NFL history, and most certainly the best ever for quarterbacks. Six of them were taken in the first round, four went on to play in the Super Bowl, and three have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

John Elway went first. Then Todd Blackledge. Then Jim Kelly. Tony Eason went right after Kelly. Nine picks later, Ken O’Brien joined the mix.

And then the Miami Dolphins, with the 27th pick in the first round, took Dan Marino, a quarterback from Pittsburgh. You know how the rest of the story goes.

Perhaps there was a lot of luck involved in that fortuitous drop for Marino. He went on to become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history.

And the guy who has since ruined it for every other quarterback in the state of Florida.

It’s your fault, Danny Boy.

All of it.

Read George Diaz’s blog at or e-mail him at



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