INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Brian Billick watches warmups on the field before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
When I saw that Brian Billick was scheduled to speak this morning, I knew it would be good. To say that Billick is very direct, would probably be an understatement. He's certainly a very opinionated individual and usually delivers with some interesting insight.
At the Combine, Billick spoke on a variety of topics, but his opinions on the Peyton Manning situation were by far the most detailed.
To kick things off, Billick was asked a question pertaining to the upside of Manning and how he would fit within Miami:
"If he's physically okay, that's 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 being with and how he wants to progress his offense, to kind of put that on the back burner. I can't say that it won't happen and you obviously do what your player's do best."
Generally speaking, Billick then considered the importance of Manning's control within a team and how that will come into play as a free agent.
"Who makes more? At the end of the day, that's who's in charge. And when you bring in Peyton Manning, why would you bring him in and not do what he does best? And that's what a good coach will do. But that has to be an organizational decision. That's not just Miami, all of the teams considering him."
Billick was then asked about what would happen in the event that bringing in Manning doesn't work for his potential suitor:
First off, when you bring him in. If it doesn't work, it's not Peyton's fault. There's gonna be somebody buttoning someone's briefcase at the end of the day and it's not going to be Peyton's. That guy's got a Super Bowl and he's walking into the Hall of Fame. So yeah, there is a little pressure, but it's not going to be Peyton's fault if it doesn't work.
Billick further elaborated on the situation of bringing an aging veteran in, relating it to the popular comparison of Joe Montana. Billick noted that when Montana moved on to Kansas City, he took his offense with him in the form of the coordinator. That is surely an component that teams will have to face if they decide to bring Manning in, as Billick referred to.
Furthermore, Billick spoke a little about Manning's health and the basic fact that it could come down to the varying opinions of doctors and how they may not align with Manning's. As we all have experienced, sometimes athletes have a hard time hanging up their cleats, even if it really is the best option. I'm not necessarily in agreeance with Billick on this point, but it's certainly worth considering.
"Look at Troy Aikman and the concussion issues. Troy would have liked to play on when you visit with Troy. But he prudently did the right thing and there were some anxieties when he left because, it's like, 'I'm okay, I can go back and do that.' He did the right thing.
I hope Peyton Manning, I know Peyton Manning wants to do the right thing. But you gotta follow the counsel of the doctors, which doctor's are saying what."
Billick also noted that determining Manning's health before the draft will be critical, as the market will likely shrink once the draft is over.
Billick also called Andrew Luck "the most dynamic quarterback talent to come out since John Elway, as a prospect." He put emphasis on prospect and followed that with: "It goes back to the old, 'Son, your potential is going to get me fired.'" Billick even discussed the closeness between Ryan Leaf and Manning during the '97 draft, RG3's immense talent, Matt Flynn's free agency prospects, and a lot more. All in all, Billick delivered a very entertaining interview and even cracked some jokes regarding the California government and the possible legalization of marijuana.
The full transcript should be available shortly. I apologize in advance if I happened to miss a word or two through my audio transcription.