It takes one to know one.
Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino believes the 49ers have a cool-headed signal-caller, capable of playing his best in the toughest moments.
The current CBS television analyst shared those opinions on the San Francisco quarterback exclusively with 49ers.com.
With the CBS staff at 49ers headquarters on Thursday to shoot video promos for Super Bowl XLVII, the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback of the Miami Dolphins shared his positive impressions of Kaepernick.
“What’s really been impressive is how he’s won games,” noted Marino, a Hall of Fame inductee in 2005. “He did it while he ran for 180-something yards and then this past game against Atlanta, he didn’t run that much, but he threw from the pocket and helped win that way.
“Both dynamics are terrific.”
Marino, who retired in 1999 with the NFL’s all-time lead in passing attempts (8,538), completions (4,967) yardage (61,361) and passing touchdowns (420), said Kaepernick’s stellar play has caught him off guard considering he hasn’t completed a full season as a starter.
“It’s a little bit mind-boggling to me,” Marino said. “His 10th start is going to be at the Super Bowl, that’s cool.”
Marino has been taken back by how the young 49ers quarterback has handled national magazine covers, added interview requests and everything that’s happened in recent weeks.
“When you look at him, it doesn’t seem to be too big for him,” Marino said. “He seems to handle everything really well.”
In Marino’s experience, the key to handling the spotlight is embracing it and not shying away from the attention.
“I think you embrace it and try to understand what your work is and what you need to do,” Marino added. “You need to embrace the fact that you’re going to the Super Bowl and enjoy that part of it. You have to be disciplined and do the same things you’ve been doing.”
On the field, Marino believes it’s imperative for the 49ers quarterback to continue being himself: A dual-threat at the position long known for pocket-passing.
Arm-strength, for one, is one of the many Kaepernick talents that has Marino in awe.
“It’s very explosive,” Marino said. “The ball comes out real quick.”
In Marino’s mind, solid quarterbacking always comes down to velocity and accuracy.
With Kaepernick, “He has both of those.”
“With the ability to run around and run different variations of different offenses, it makes him tough to defend.”
Marino might have completed most of his yardage from the pocket, but that doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate a quarterback that can do damage from a zone-read scheme.
“It’s about adapting to player’s talents,” Marino detailed. “I would say for Jim Harbaugh to recognize what he can do and to use it and sprinkle it in there as much as you can for the big-play possibility, I understand why he made the decision he made. There’s more potential for big plays.”
Marino rushed for 87 yards in 17 seasons. Needless to say, a dual-threat quarterback with arm talent like Kaepernick is something all football fans can enjoy.
Kaepernick so far has shown the ability to throw and run depending on how the defense matches up.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Baltimore tries to defend him,” Marino said.