Peyton Manning Cleared To Play But Shouldn’t In DC


Let’s just be honest for a minute, I can be a sucker for the things I love.

My wife and daughter are well aware of this fact, and can pretty much get away with anything. “Honey I need this new watch” . . . OK, “Daddy I want a pony”. . . OK.

Sadly, I am pretty sure Dan Snyder has cashed in on my suckerism as well.

“Hey look fans, a Donovan McNabb Jersey”. . . OK, “Buy your new Albert Haynesworth Jersey”….OK.

This team has been so bad that when we see big names, a lot of us just can’t help, but jump at the excitement and what if’s that come with a new player acquisition. We did it with Deion, Bruce, Donovan, Fat Albert, Adam Archuletta, Randel El, the list goes on.

Every Year the ‘what if’ somehow overrides what we know is a TERRIBLE idea – and this year, a week before the Super Bowl, the Suckerism in Redskins Nation is already spreading like the Black Plague.

Yesterday, news broke that Peyton Manning was cleared to play, and amid all the rumors from ESPN regarding Peyton to DC (thanks a lot Stink) Redskins went into Defcon 5.

“Look a shiny new Peyton Manning Jersey”. . . OK.

For a team that has been so absolutely terrible at QB and in search of a franchise guy since the early 90’s, it’s easy to see the name Peyton Manning and to start making a place on the shelf for that fourth Lombardi Trophy.

Let me for a minute be the voice of reason here.

While it is super fun to think about Peyton Manning in the Burgundy and Gold, and it definitely would be AWESOME for dominating your Cowboy loving friends in Madden 13, the truth is it’s a HORRIBLE IDEA.

That’s right, I said it . . . the Redskins need to stay away from arguably the best quarterback I have seen in my lifetime.

The truth of the matter is, Peyton is not a fit for what Mike Shanahan does on offense…at all.

Even before the injury, Manning was considered at best immobile. The fact that he runs in slow motion makes him ineffective in a zone blocking, QB boot offense. Shanahan needs a guy who can move the pocket and find new throwing lanes for receivers that would be covered from the angle he sees in the pocket.

This offense is all about throwing lanes and creating new ones off the QB boot. I don’t believe that Peyton has the kind of mobility that this system needs.

More importantly, Manning and Shanahan are BOTH control freaks. For Peyton’s entire career, he has had complete control over the offense in Indy at the line of scrimmage. Let’s be honest, watching him run a no huddle and switching everyone’s assignments at the line is a thing of absolute beauty, but I just don’t see Shanahan letting that fly.

Look at how bad it went when McNabb tried to change plays and do what he felt necessary at the line, Shanahan benched him for Grossman – and I don’t think he would blink at repeating the mistakes of the past just because Peyton is Peyton.

For the last two years we have heard the Shanahans go on and on about how important the scheme is here, even over personnel. Time and time again we have heard that they want players that fit what they want them to do, instead of superstars with tremendous ability that they can mold their system around.

The bottom line is this; Mike Shanahan WILL NOT tweak his system for a player – even if that player is the best to ever play the position.

Add the fact that Peyton is dealing with an injury that could end his career if he so much as sneezes wrong – and I have to believe that bringing him here could be a mistake of epic proportions.

It would just be one more attempt at fitting a square peg into a round hole that sets this franchise back for another few years and could cost another coach his job.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t buy a Burgundy and Gold Peyton Manning jersey, because I totally would (like I said I’m a total sucker), I would just be terrified every time that I put it on to watch a game.


Posted on February 3, 2012, in Washington Redskins and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Kazushi Sakuraba

    “Look at how bad it went when McNabb tried to change plays and do what he felt necessary at the line, Shanahan benched him for Grossman…. The bottom line is this; Mike Shanahan WILL NOT tweak his system for a player – even if that player is the best to ever play the position.”

    I usually enjoy reading your articles, but the argument above borders on clinical stupidity. First of all, McNabb wasn’t benched because he tried to do “what he felt necessary” — presumably you mean necessary for success. There are many reports on the circumstances of McNabb’s benching, but the most common themes are that he was either unwilling or unable to learn the system. In other words, whatever changes he made were “necessary” only to the extent that he was unable to make the correct decision or execute the correct play.

    Second, if you really think that Shanahan is unwilling to tweak his system for a player, just go back to last year’s game tape and compare the offensive play calls with Grossman in and with Beck in the game. Shanahan has a long history in the NFL coaching different quarterbacks, and the claim that every quarterback ran the exact same plays or systems is not only bold — it is wrong and disingenuous.

    Third, Shanahan has said many times that the team needs better and more dynamic players on offense. Every coach — yes, every coach — wants players that fit his system, whether it’s a 3-4 or 4-3 on defense, or power- or zone-scheme on offense. But the fact that a coach wants players who fit his system does *not* mean that he doesn’t want the best players. Instead, it means he understands that football is a team sport and that most players’ talents will be maximized only if placed in the right scheme.

    Some players, however, are transcendental: they are so good that they can be superstars anywhere. John Elway was one of those guys. A healthy Peyton Manning is still one of those guys.

    If you don’t want Peyton Manning here, then fair enough, that’s your opinion. But to justify that sentiment by stating that Mike Shanahan would be the obstacle to Manning’s success here — well, that would just be bizarre.

    • Fact is Peyton is used to doing it his way, and Shanahan has historically preferred players to fit him not the other way around. Add in the lack of mobility and the career threatening injury and I don’t think it is a fit at all.

      I would love to hear why you think he does fit?

      • Kazushi Sakuraba

        To start, I apologize for using the term, “clinical stupidity.” That was obviously immature and utterly disrespectful. But let me address your reply.

        You made three arguments:
        1. Manning and Shanahan each want to do it their own way.
        2. Manning is immobile.
        3. Manning has a career-threatening injury.

        The third point is irrelevant to my post, so I won’t address it.

        The second point ties into the first: you believe that Manning simply won’t fit “Shanahan’s way.”

        There is no evidence to show that Mike Shanahan is unwilling to make changes to suit Peyton Manning. There is, however, evidence to show that Mike Shanahan has been willing to make changes for other players. I already gave one example from last year: the different play calls when Grossman and Beck were in the game. (And the fact that Grossman has been the starter defeats the argument that Shanahan refuses to have an immobile quarterback run his offense. Even McNabb was a statue by the time he played for the Redskins.)

        Another simple example from last year’s offense was the introduction of the pitch toss to suit Roy Helu. I find it unfathomable that Shanahan would introduce a new running play mid-season and rely on it regularly — for the sake of a rookie, Roy Helu! — but wouldn’t concede anything for Peyton Manning.

        Peyton Manning is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time (certainly one of the smartest, hardest-working, and most precise) and is capable of running any NFL team’s offense, including the one in DC. The point in the article that I refuted was that Mike Shanahan would be an obstacle to his success here — a point dubiously backed up only by the evidence of McNabb’s benching.

        Please understand, I am not making an argument for or against acquiring Manning; I am merely arguing against the myth that Shanahan is so rigid in his ways that he wouldn’t make any concessions for an historically great player such as Peyton Manning. I am OK with your belief that bringing in Manning is a bad idea, but I disagree strongly with your reasoning that it’s a bad idea simply because Mike Shanahan is the coach.

      • Great points, and believe me I believe Peyton to be an incredible QB (like I said arguably the best I have been able to watch). I just don’t think he is a fit in a QB boot system.

        Both of our QBs this year commented that the bootleg allows out receivers to be open when they absolutely shouldn’t. Whether people see it or not the bootleg is a huge part of this system and not being able to use it (just like not effectively running at the rb position) destroys what Kyle can do with the play call.

        You made an excellent point about Rex and his immobility, but I have to believe that Rex right now is significantly more mobile than Peyton with his injury.

        The point is not that Peyton can’t be just as effective as he has been playing his style of QB. The point is that his style of play forces our staff to get away from what they are experts at.

        Mike Shanahan has won 2 Super Bowls by coaching the way he knows how.

        I feel like bringing in a guy like Peyton then making our staff get away from what they do well will hurt both sides.

  2. Kazushi Sakuraba

    Fair enough, and a reasonable concern, though it’s unknown whether Manning’s injury will have any effect on his mobility. From the recent leaks it appears that the neck is completely stable at this point, and the only rehab left is for him to regain his arm strength. Also, I heard someone on the radio (Greg Cosell on the Sports Reporters?) say that some current NFL players, including linebackers, had had the same neck surgery and recovered well enough to continue their (more physically demanding) careers.

    More to your point, here’s a quote from Shanahan addressing the very issue:

    “It’s kind of funny, because when I had Steve Young and we had to run a West Coast offense [in San Francisco], and Steve was so much different than Joe Montana, you know, it was different. And then [John] Elway — Elway didn’t want to run the five-step drop. We were in a shotgun formation all the time. He hated the West Coast offense of three- and five-step drops, so with John it was a seven-step drop and a lot of shotgun. And then we wind up getting a guy like Jake Plummer, and of course Jake… totally different. He had to be outside the pocket, all those quarterback keeps, boots, none of the drop-back, none of the seven-step drop. He was good on the run, good on the play action, but the drop-back wasn’t his game.

    “So what you’ve always got to do is, whatever quarterback you have, you adjust your system to your players. The one thing I think I have been categorized with is the zone blocking scheme. People say, ‘Oh, he loves the zone blocking scheme.’ So I think I’ve been stereotyped there, relative to the running game. But in the passing game, if people look at what we’ve done in different places, they’re going to say, ‘Oh, he adjusts the passing game to the quarterback.'”

    Regardless, we shall see (or, as you are hoping, we wont!).

  3. McNabb and Kyle didn’t work out.
    That’s all we know the rest is speculation.

    I think the larger question is this: do you trust Mike/Kyle to recognize that Manning has proven to be successful enough in his passing offense to warrant adapting their entire offense to more or less mirror Peyton’s passing game?

    Therefore I don’t think it becomes a question of whether PM can learn the Kyle’s playbook.
    I think Mike/Kyle would have to come to an understanding that if the sign PM they’re signing on to install the ‘PM passing offense’.

    My thinking is that PM would work side by side with offensive staff and translate Manning’s Colts plays, concepts and system into the Redskin’s verbiage.
    Peyton would have to learn to speak the ‘language’ of our offense but he would still in essence be running his plays/offense.

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