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Billick on Manning & Miami

INDIANAPOLIS -- There has been a lot of speculation about landing spots for Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, and that includes concern among Bills fans about whether he could wind up with the Miami Dolphins.

NFL Network analyst Brian Billick, the former Ravens head coach, thinks it would not be simple for the Dolphins to committ to Manning, given the fact they are starting fresh with new coach Joe Philbin. Philbin worked with Green Bay backup Matt Flynn, and there is plenty of speculation as well that Miami will pursue Flynn in free agency. Here's Billick assessing the pros and cons of a Manning move to Miami.

Said Billick: "For coach Philbin, obviously, he’s coming in with a very specific mindset in terms of the offense he’s going to want to run. You know when you bring in Peyton Manning, it’s 'OK, Peyton bring me your playbook because that’s what we’re going to put in.' Why would you not put Peyton Manning in an environment that he's most comfortable? So you’re going to wrap your entire offense around what he wants to do. And then for whatever time you’ve rented him – whether it's two years or three years, hopefully very productive – you then have to go back and start over. Because believe me, what Peyton Manning does is unique to Peyton Manning. I’m not talking about what he does on the field. If anybody’s watched Peyton Manning practice, he runs that entire practice. He’ll be in the offensive line drills, telling Jeff Saturday and the line coach. Now if you make that call, then I’m going to do this. No I’m going to verbalize it that way. He’s in the running backs drills saying, no you’ve got to take this approach. No, be sitting down here. Once I’ve gone into my check over here, I'm going to come back there. So you’ve got to buy into that hook line and sinker. And if he’s physically OK, great, you’ve got a great upside. But it would be hard for me to imagine for coach Philbin, who has a very specific idea of what he wants to begin with and how he wants to progress in his offense, to kind of put that on the back burner. Can’t say it won’t happen and obviously you do what your players do best. It would be interesting to hear what those conversations are like."

So you think there would be some downside because it’s whose team at that point, Philbin’s or Manning’s?

"Exactly right. And there’s nothing wrong with that, believe me. Who makes more? OK. At the end of the day that’s whos in charge. And when you bring in a Peyton Manning, why would you bring him in and not do what he does best? That’s what a good coach will do. But that has to be an organizational decision. It’s not just Miami. It's all the other teams considering him. That has to be part of the process. And where Miami is particularly with a new head coach, yeah, there’s a huge upside, but there’s got to be a part of you that says you’re anxious to get on with what it is you want to do and the structure you want to put together."

Continued Billick: "First off, when you bring him in, if it doesn't work, it’s not Peyton’s fault. There’s going to be somebody’s butt in somebody’s brief case at the end of the day, and it’s not going to be Peyton’s, OK? Because that guy’s got a Super Bowl, he’s walking into the Hall of Fame. So yeah, there is a little bit of pressure that it's not going to be Peyton’s fault if it doesn’t work. So how do I orchestrate that? But still you’re talking about one of the great players of all time. So let’s just say; it’s silly to say, but let’s put the physical aspects aside. Let’s say he is OK. Keep in mind when Joe Montana -- that seems to be the bell cow now when we go to for the analogy -- he took his own coordinator (from San Francisco to Kansas City). He ran what he ran in San Francisco in Kansas City and it was successful. A litltle different. And I give (ex-Chiefs coach) Marty Schottenheimer a great deal of credit. That wasn’t Martyball now. OK? That was Joe Montana’s offense and they had some success. Ultimately it wasn’t the ultimate success, but they made the playoffs. They did a nice job. But then they had to transition. And then what did they transition to when you look at Marty’s progression in Kanssas City? What happened after Joe Montana left? It set back the progression that I imagine Marty – and you’d have to ask Marty – but I can’t imagine that wasn’t a bit of a detour as to what Marty wanted to put together. And then ultimately he ended up leaving Kansas City. So I think there are some analogies to draw from there."

---Mark Gaughan


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