A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
View RSS Feed

A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

Peyton's Place

Rate this Entry
íCiting ďseveral people familiar with the Redskinsí thinking,Ē the Washington Post reported Wednesday morning that Mike Shanahanís team will make an aggressive bid to sign quarterback Peyton Manning after heís released by the Colts.í

Say it ainít so Joe. Or Mike. Or Bruce. Donít say anything at all Dan.

Seeing the Colts part ways with an apparently near-healthy face-of-the-franchise Manning is downright surreal. But itís a topsy-turvy, crazy, wacky, mixed-up NFL world we live in where the news that the Redskins may make a serious effort to bring all-world QB Peyton Manning to DC conjures up feelings of fear, concern, and disappointment.

And yet, thatís exactly where I am. And I sense Iíve got plenty of company amongst my burgundy and gold-loving brethren.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the majority of Redskins fans wouldíve been absolutely giddy about the prospect of Peyton Manning under center for the Redskins. During a succession of quarterbacks spanning some 10 years, Redskins fans have tried desperately to convince themselves that, with just another season, a little better supporting cast, some coaching up, and gosh darn it, some heartfelt love and devotion from the fans, guys named Ramsey, Campbell, McNabb, and (gasp) Grossman or Beck could magically become Ďthe guyí. But DC isnít Disneyland and dreams donít come true.

Thereís a lot of uncertainty in this world. The future is hazy, unknowable, and success an ethereal and elusive mirage seemingly always just out of reach. But I know 2 things. Snookiís kid will not attend an Ivy League school, and the Redskins need a quarterback.

So whatís not to love about a Manning to DC scenario? What are the Pros and Cons of a Manning to Washington scenario?

Health
Cons: Manningís health is clearly the pink elephant in the room. Short lots of leaked reassurances and a grainy video of Manning chucking some balls to friends on a Duke practice field, we just donít know if Manning can still be the Man. Nerves donít regrow. The body can regenerate the myelin sheath that covers the nerve pathways, or shunt signals to muscle fibers around damaged cells, but most neurologists will tell you, once a nerve is significantly damaged, partial restoration of function, not full recovery is usually a realistic prognosis. There are still some significant doubts as to what version of Peyton Manning suitors can expect to see Ė not whether he can play or not, but whether he will still be able to deliver the ball with the velocity and authority that has become his trademark?

Pros: A John Madden impersonator once proclaimed ĎEven without arms and legs, Brett Favre is still the best torso in football!í. The same can be argued here. Manning at 75% is still likely a top 5 quarterback. Steve Young recently made some excellent points regarding Manningís health, pointing out that 36 year old quarterbacks, whether coming off a significant injury or not, are already losing their physical tools. Young pointed out that itís whatís between Manningís ears and his years of invaluable on-the-field experience that will allow him continued success. The Ďhealth argumentí may be the biggest red herring of all since no NFL team is going to sign Manning with an intensive physical exam and on-the-field assessment of his current physical capabilities. And the argument that Manning is now Ďbrittleí holds little water medically as fused vertebra tend to be as strong or stronger structurally than the original bone. Manning has been an exceptionally durable QB during his career. One can reasonably expect him to be just as durable as any other 36 year old NFL quarterback going forward.

Coaching
Cons: Many believe Redskins Park would have to be doubled in size were Manning to come to town, in order to accommodate both he and Mike Shanahanís egos. Thereís a widely held belief that Manning called his own shots in Indianapolis, that what Peyton wanted, Peyton got, both on the field and off of it. The Shanahans are old-school. Ask Donovan McNabb. You do it the Shanahanís way, or you wonít do it at all. The Shanahans have spent 2 years moving malcontents, egos, and divas out. Some argue bringing in Manning is a recipe for disaster, a chemistry experiment bound to end in a catastrophic explosion.

Pros: The idea that Manning was God in Indy is a myth. Manning was certainly the single-most important player in Indianapolis history. But he didnít call all the shots. If the events of the past 24 hours donít prove that, nothing does. Manning is a team guy. He respects the game, itís history, and his role in an organization. I firmly believe that if Manning were to come to DC, heíd be the antithesis of Donovan McNabb. Manning would continue to be a company guy. Any disagreements he might have with the coaching staff would be dealt with behind closed doors and professionally. Furthermore, although whether Manning wants to play for a guy like Mike Shanahan or not is an unknown, thereís no question Manning respects Shanahan and his accomplishments. Itís quite possible the opportunity to play for Shanahan might well attract, rather than deter.

Scheme/Talent
Cons: Thereís only one reason why Peyton Manning wants to continue playing. Money isnít it. Ego isnít it. Itís all about legacy. Manning is driven to win another championship, and itís the factor most likely to determine his ultimate landing spot. And we all know the Redskins, coming off an impressive 5-11 2011 season, are just a player away from their next Super Bowl appearance. Besides, Manning calls his own plays. The idea of working for a control freak like Mike Shanahan (and his less experienced control freak son Kyle) is anathema to a guy who calls his own shots.

Pros: There may be a few exceptions (San Francisco? The Jets?), but how many current perennial playoff contenders are there out there who lack a great QB? Sure Ė it sounds logical Ė Manning will only go to a team knocking on the Super Bowl's door. But when you start looking at candidates who fit that criteria, and donít have a QB, the possibilities dwindle. And are the Redskins really that far off? Theyíre drafting well and Manning to DC means they keep every one of their 2012 draft picks and can continue the re-build around him. Shanahanís Skins have shown they can run the ball and run it well, and it doesnít much matter who is carrying the rock. The O-line is questionable, fair enough, but surely there are plans to shore that up? And Manning has played beyond shaky and piecemeal lines for a decade Ė often with great success. Great QBs make their offensive lines immediately better. And donít forget the Redskins suddenly relevant and capable defense. Talent in DC may not be the issue some think it is in the overall equation. Can Manning adapt to another offensive scheme, including the potential that he no longer independently calls the on-the-field shots? That remains to be seen. But Manning is a smart cookie, and he no doubt knows that he canít go into any new offense and expect his role to be identical to the unique role he played in Indy.

Intangibles
Cons: What about the prospect of playing little brother a least twice a year in NFC East battles? What sibling would relish that? And what parent would look forward to it? Peyton owns property in Florida many point out Ė surely that makes Miami his likely landing spot? Maybe so. The Redskins just recently got done blowing up their inflatable practice dome, but play games in cold, nasty, outdoor Fed Ex Field. Peytonís hands might get cold, and thatís the reason heíll eschew DC for some warmer (and preferably temperature-controlled) venue. Finally, many have predicted that Manningís primary motivation will be to show the Colts that theyíve made a monumental mistake. That means staying in the AFC, and having the opportunity to stick it to his former long-term employers as frequently as possible.

Pros: A year ago, I might have bought into the idea that Manning would never voluntarily put himself into a position where he had to face brother Eli multiple times per year. But that was before Eli won yet another Super Bowl with the Giants and stole dinner table bragging rights away from his supposedly superior brother. In my opinion, that changes everything. After nearly 2 years away from the game, Manning will be hungry and eager to show the experts who the best QB in the family really is. What better way to do that than to join an up and coming NFC East rival of little brother. And anyone who thinks Manningís stats are a product of the covered roof, AC, and artificial turf at Lucas Oil Stadium just isnít paying attention. Manning is a tough, aggressive, natural QB. If heís physically capable to return to some semblance of his former self, heíll be a great QB indoors or out.

The Redskins
Cons: The Redskins have tried this before. The mere idea of Peyton Manning conjures up apparitions of Redskins failures past. Snyderís early history where no check was too large to sign if it meant securing an over-priced vet or 10 to try and purchase a winning season. Even the recent specter of Donovan McNabb, former Pro Bowler instantly transformed to mediocrity once in burgundy and gold, torments Redskin fans souls as they sleep. Signing Manning goes against every instinct todayís Redskins fans have Ė that we are currently and finally doing things the right way, building a respectable and capable team the right way, acquiring blue collar players with character, skill, and commitment through the draft. From this perspective, Manning is a great QB whoís just the wrong choice. Couple those concerns with the undeniable fact that Manning probably has 3-4 years left even under the rosiest of scenarios, and most Redskins fans are screaming ĎJust Say Noí.

Pros: The Redskins are rebuilding. Had they had even a competent QB under center in 2011, one could easily foresee a .500 season. They swept the eventual Super Bowl champions and beat them convincingly. With a QB of Peyton Manningís capability, this team is an immediate wildcard threat. RGIII worship aside, were the Redskins to acquire Manning, fans would quickly embrace him as the first real threat at QB theyíve had under center in a decade. Not having to relinquish draft picks to Ďget their guyí, the Skins could continue to build the lines and skill position around Manning. Year 2 weíre competing for the division. By Year 3, a Super Bowl appearance is within grasp. Itís not an impossibility. And letís face it, when your last Super Bowl appearance was in 1991, bringing in a hired gun, if it results in another Lombardi trophy on the team mantle Ė well, there are worse outcomes for a starving fanbase.


So where does that leave this fan?

Torn.

Iíd prefer the Redskins resist the urge to pull the trigger on Manning. Itís a move that, for me at least, would smack of desperation. The Redskins are on the right path. Minus the McNabb debacle (which I chalk up to a relatively inexpensive mistaken roll of the dice), theyíve got a good thing going. The signing of Peyton Manning would be a clear signal that they donít have the courage of their convictions. It would signal that this second Shanahan era is more about securing Shanahanís job and taking the safe route in order to do so, than it is about really guaranteeing his legacy by showing he can rebuild a troubled and failed franchise from the ground up. Manning is the safe pick for Shanahan, but heís not the right pick.

Finally, Iím tired of trying to ride the coattails of other NFLís team stars. I want to root for Redskins Iíve watched grow up as Redskins. The idea of seeing a top tier QB prospect drafted by my Redskins, mentored and coached to success, and leading us to glory again is so appealing, Iím almost afraid to wish for it. But I do wish for it. Iím tired of buying lottery tickets. I want to invest for the long haul.

I hope the Washington Redskins ultimately decide theyíre in it for the long haul too. The rewards could last for years and years to come.

Updated 03-07-12 at 09:50 PM by Boone

Categories
Uncategorized

Comments

Trackbacks

Total Trackbacks 0
Trackback URL: