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Thursday, February 23, 2012
Quick hits from combine, Peyton edition

By Mike Reiss

Manning Billboard
A group called "Manning to Miami" recently paid to have this billboard erected on a South Florida highway.
INDIANAPOLIS -- A few quick hits from the NFL combine:

1. Peyton Manning and the Dolphins? With new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin speaking with the media, along with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, it seemed like they were answering the same questions that have surrounded the franchise for more than a decade: What is the solution at the quarterback spot? Ireland was asked about some fans campaigning for Peyton Manning and he brushed off the question. Ireland noted the team isn't against finding a short-term and long-term solution at the same time. The view from here: If Manning was available, and had a clean bill of health, it makes sense to think he'd be on Miami's radar. They are going to have a tough time competing in the AFC East until they get that position solidified.

2. Dolphins and sub defense. Ireland highlighted a stat of note -- the Dolphins were in their sub "front" on defense (5 or more defensive backs) on about 70 percent of their snaps. The stat was brought up when someone asked what type of base defense the Dolphins plan to run (they are saying they'll be multiple). This spotlights the importance of a fifth and sixth defensive back. The Patriots are around that 70 percent clip as well.

3. Philbin and his Massachusetts ties. Philbin, of Longmeadow, Mass., was asked a few questions about his roots. First, he said a game at Gillette Stadium next year will be treating like a business trip, as that is how he'd want his players to approach it if they were in that situation. He also shared fond memories of his time and colleagues at Worcester Academy. Philbin was impressive in this setting.

4. More draft-specific chatter to come. Still waiting to interview some of the prospects. At this point, it's been more pro-based chatter. Also interested to hear from Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert as it relates to receiver Mike Wallace.