Dolphins, Peyton Manning and control

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
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There is very little to criticize about the career of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. He's a complete quarterback on the field -- one of the best of all-time -- and a standup citizen off the field.

But if there is one thing you might be able to nitpick about Manning throughout his career, it's that he likes control -- and plenty of it. Once Manning proved himself in Indianapolis, the offense, playbook -- everything was built around Manning. He was essentially the quarterback, offensive coordinator and, to some degree, the head coach when the Colts had the football. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky examined this topic Wednesday.

In the AFC East, are the Miami Dolphins willing to hand Manning the type of unquestioned offensive control he had in Indianapolis?

We've seen it every week: A play is called, and Manning goes to the line and changes it two or three times into a play he likes better. Usually, it works. But at the same time it's tough on a head coach and offensive play-caller, who doesn't have nearly as much control as with other quarterbacks.

The topic of control is a quiet but important one for Manning. He's not going to join a team unless he has a lot freedom in the offense.

That's not a concern for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who is not a football guy and desperately wants Manning to make a splash and sell tickets. General manager Jeff Ireland probably cares to some degree, but not too much. The brunt of this falls on rookie head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who are both considered good offensive minds.

Philbin and Sherman are in the process of implementing a West Coast offense, a system Manning didn't run in Indianapolis. Manning won't be a spoke in the wheel. He has all the leverage and needs to be convinced he's the biggest cog and decision-maker on offense. If Manning can't get that in Miami, he will get it in Arizona, New York, or somewhere else.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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