Reporting David Elfin
I have a mission today: convincing you that the Peyton Manning to the Redskins rumors that heated up last week thanks to a tweet by ESPN’s Bram Weinstein – a good guy and a former Washington beat reporter – are oh so very wrong.
Here are some of the reasons that Manning in burgundy and gold makes no sense:
1) Donovan McNabb. While Bram and other rumor-mongers might have forgotten, Mike Shanahan certainly remember how well his last major trade for a set-in-his-ways 30-something quarterback worked out. And McNabb was healthy and nearly two years younger then than Manning, who’ll be 36 in March and is trying to return after missing a year following neck surgery — is now. Plus Manning has been in Indianapolis’ offensive system for all 13 of his healthy seasons, two more than McNabb had been in Andy Reid’s scheme in Philadelphia.
2) Manning and Shanahan are both perfectionists and control freaks. That’s a recipe for a bad marriage in a household or on a football team where the coach and quarterback are the dominant personalities. No quarterback of our time calls more audibles than Manning, something which would surely drive Shanahan crazy even when they worked sort of like when Steve Spurrier sulked when his Redskins won with a ground game instead of his beloved passing attack.
3) Now from Manning’s perspective. The man has been a winner virtually his entire career. Why in the hell would he want to play for a team that has suffered three straight double-digit loss seasons, hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007, hasn’t won a postseason game since 2005 and hasn’t been a division champion since he was a second-year quarterback way back in 1999? And let’s not even talk about Washington’s shaky offensive line, whose blind side pass protector, Trent Williams, is one failed drug test from a year-long suspension.
4) If Manning is going to play again because he’s such a competitor and wants to go out on his terms instead of because of an injury, then the first-ballot Hall of Fame lock is going to want to play for a team with a good chance of helping him win a second ring and go out on top. To me, that says San Francisco, which is just one home victory away from the Super Bowl, has a fierce defense, a fine running back (Frank Gore) and left tackle (Joe Staley), good targets in Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree and whose quarterback, Alex Smith, is a free agent after the first good year of his seven seasons. Oh, and the 49ers are coached by Jim Harbaugh, who just happened to be Manning’s predecessor as the Colts’ quarterback and thus shares many of the same experiences and acquaintances.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me if Manning completes his comeback and leaves the Colts, neither of which is a sure thing. Manning to the Redskins just shows no brains.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of the new book: “Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History.” A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan during the 2010 Redskins season, he returned to the station as its blogger in March.