After a disappointing 6-10 2011 campaign by Mike Shanahan and the Redskins, there are many areas on this team that need to be upgraded. While the defense made strides in their second year of a 3-4 defense; the offense, aside for a late year improvement in the running game, left much to be desired. Excuses regarding learning “systems” and injuries are overused and non-applicable. What is clear is that despite Mike Shanahan’s reputation being staked on the quarterback pairing of Rex Grossman and John Beck, there was no starting talent lining up behind center for the Redskins in 2011. Indeed, the second year of the Shanahan offense yielded poorer quarterback play than the first.
QB Comp % Yards TD INT Rating
Donovan McNabb in 2010: 58.3% 3,377 14 15 77.1
Rex Grossman in 2010 55.6% 884 7 4 81.2
Rex Grossman in 2011 57.9% 3151 16 20 72.4
John Beck in 2011 60.6% 858 2 4 72.1
This, of course, was with another year of familiarity in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s (and Mike’s son) offense. Interceptions were up and touchdowns were down. Now, I would never say that Donovan McNabb should have been kept for another year. It is clear that his skills diminished even more this year and proved to more of a malcontent than what he was worth (sad to see, I’ve got to say). But giving the reins to “system” quarterbacks Grossman and Beck, didn’t yield any better results.
One thing is clear when seeing this offense for two years under Shanahan: learning this system is overrated, the Redskins need talent at this position more than any other.
It’s good to have options…
The Skins were so bad this year, they are given the opportunity to improve their team with the 6th overall pick of the draft. However, with USC QB Matt Barkley returning to school for a shot at becoming the number 1 pick next year, and Oklahoma QB Landry Jones following suit, the Skins may likely be out of the running for the two top QB prospects – Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. The lack of quarterback talent across the league across the NFL exacerbates the issue. Obviously for Luck there’s a 99.9% chance of the Colts picking him #1 overall. For Robert Griffin III there’s a good chance the Rams hold an auction for the 2nd overall pick for teams willing to sell the farm. Even if he slides to number 3, the Cleveland Browns are poised to take him and show a slightly struggling Colt McCoy the door.
Some are reporting the Skins should sign Aaron Rodgers’ back up Matt Flynn to a long term deal for the potential he’s shown in limited action. While others in the media spread rumors of the Skins being willing to package future first round picks and/or players to draft RG III or Luck. While those are interesting propositions, the most intriguing and possibly the most destructive (maybe even more so than keeping Grossman and Beck for another year) is the scenario that the Redskins either trade for or pick up in free agency, one of the greatest signal callers the game has seen, Peyton Manning.
The Peyton Propositon
Peyton Manning at 36, is one of the best the NFL has ever seen. But after three neck surgeries in one year, he is possibly one hit away from retirement (assuming he’s healthy even now-which is a big assumption in and of itself).
Pro’s for Peyton:
- He has a huge impact on the team around him through motivation, excellent quarterback play, and elevating the play of those around him significantly.The Colts have been a perennial playoff contender, but became the worst team in the NFL without him this year. Replacement QBs Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky, and Kerry Collins weren’t able to make much use of the same cast that Peyton had and the Colts only put up two wins.
- No one in the league is like Peyton: 94.9 career passer rating with 64.9 completion %, 399 TDs to only 198 Interceptions.
- IF he’s healthy, this differs from a Donovan McNabb situation in two ways
- No one works harder than Peyton in regards to film study, and being on top of his game.
- Peyton is not statistically in decline, his last full year played in Indianapolis was solid: 91.9 passer rating, 66.3%, 33 TD’s and 17 INT’s.
- FILLING OTHER NEEDS: The Skins have a lack of talent at many different positions on this squad. That’s why they were 6-10 last year. Picking up Peyton gives the Skins the ability to address other needs in the draft like cornerback, offensive line, linebacker, and wide receiver. The Redskins may even be able to draft a QB in a later round to groom under Peyton for two to three years.
Problems with the Peyton Plan
- Health- The Redskins would be gambling on Peyton not only being able to recover from his neck surgeries but to stay healthy for a 16 game (or more, hopefully) season. For a veteran of 14 years, this is nearly impossible and more difficult with an often times shaky Redskins offensive line.
- Short term vs. long term- The Redskins may risk mortgaging future progress by taking the band-aid solution now. A young quarterback can often progress much more easily if they are enabled to grow with their offense early on (see Andy Dalton in Cincinnati) and the Shanahan club can ill afford to waste ANOTHER year of quarterback quagmires after the lost years of McNabb and Grossman. This could be a fix for a year or two, but a franchise quarterback be groomed for the next decade and beyond in that time period.
- $$$- Getting Peyton Manning may be costly even though it’s a high risk. There are reports that the Jets, Dolphins and Cardinals are also interested in getting Manning’s services. With the exception of the Dolphins, Manning may see other teams as being closer to another Super Bowl with his help putting them over the top. The Skins may have to make up for that in extra cash (and thus limiting their options for surrounding Peyton with playmakers to help him in his quest).
- Personality, Experience, and Strife – Clashing is bound to happen. Peyton has proved his worth and skill as has Mike Shanahan. But Kyle Shanahan… has not. There could be a clash of epic proportions that made the McNabb wristband, cardiovascular battles look like nothing. This would embarrass and crush the fan base even more than the Swinging Gate or Spurrier years.
If the Redskins can’t trade up to nab RGIII or if they don’t find another young QB they believe is worthy of a first-round draft pick, the Skins should pursue Peyton. I don’t have a problem with a Peyton-led team if everyone on the staff understands their roles AND they draft another qb in a later round they think can groom (not a Chase Daniels or Colt Brennan, but a Ryan Tannehill or Nick Foles). Peyton is the master and must be given flexibility and freedom. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Skins do, but one thing is for sure. This quarterback problem needs to be fixed, and Peyton Manning may be the answer.
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