Five thoughts on Redskins signing Manning

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

1. Mike Shanahan and Peyton Manning long have admired one another from afar. But their affection seemed to grow after Shan?ahan coached the Pro Bowl in 2005. He and Manning spent a lot of time together -- dining and golfing, according to the Denver Post. Later Manning said of Shanahan, "I would be hard-pressed to find a better offensive mind than Mike Shanahan. That was a special week." By the way, if this marriage happens and it works, then Manning gets the credit for turning the franchise around. If it fails, Shanahan gets the blame. Also, keep in mind that no Super Bowl winning quarterback has duplicated that feat with another team.

2. Signing Manning means tweaking the offense substantially if not scrapping it altogether. The Redskins love using bootlegs and rollouts. Manning is not mobile, but he is adept at play-action from the pocket. The stretch-zone running game is not as effective without running bootlegs, so that would change, too. Also, Manning loves being in control of the offense. He had a major say in game plans with the Colts -- would he get that here? He also called his own plays. One NFL insider said the Redskins would be fine with this arrangement. "He can run any system," one NFL source said. "But how much do you want to take advantage of what he does best?" Sounds like they would do just that.

3. If the Redskins do sign him but don't add a legitimate playmaker or two, then it's a waste. They're approximately $40 million under the cap. They could sign two former Colts receivers -- Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon -- or others Manning would want. One NFL source said doing so would make them a wild-card contender. Not sure that's enough -- and the window for contending with Manning is small. But the Redskins still could draft a quarterback, too -- possibly at No. 6 (Ryan Tannehill), though likely later. If they did this and filled other needs in free agency and the rest of the draft, they could be set at this spot for a while.

4. The offensive line's strength does not mesh with a straight drop-back passing game. The Redskins' line is built to block on the move and is helped by play-action and bootlegs. But Manning made bad and mediocre lines look good in Indianapolis with quick decision making. If he's in a system he knows well and with players he's comfortable with, that should continue. However, it should increase the need to find a right tackle in the draft eventually to replace oft-injured Jammal Brown. Of course, that could happen anyway.

5. Signing Manning certainly would underscore the urgency to win now -- one year after the Redskins finally retooled the roster. Eleven wins in two years for any franchise should put a coach on notice. This offseason will define the organization for some time. There's risk in trading up in the draft to select Robert Griffin III. There's risk in signing a quarterback who turns 36 soon and is coming off four neck surgeries in a year. But Kyle Shanahan told ESPN 980 in January: "If the doctors say he's healthy and he says he's healthy, then that's enough for me. Everybody knows Peyton Manning is ... as good as it gets."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner