Are The Redskins a Peyton Manning-Ready Team?

Peyton ManningIt is Super Bowl Week. Yet, guesswork about Peyton Manning’s whereabouts in 2012 sucks the oxygen away from the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Hog Heaven won’t get into Manning’s future until March 9, although we see no reason to think he will be available for another team, or able to play at all this season.

The wishful thinking about Manning in a Redskins uniform got us to wondering, are the Washington Redskins a Peyton-ready team?

The numbers suggest that the ‘Skins are not so far off. Fortunately, we have the Brett Favre experience as a model.

Favre was 38 years old when the Packers channeled him to the New York Jets in 2007 and 39 when he got to his target team, the Minnesota Vikings in 2008. So, how does the 2011 Redskins’ offense compare to the pre-Favre 2007 Jets and 2008 Vikings?

Here’s a quick check of the pre-Favre offensive rank, wide receiver performance and offensive line rank of the Jets and Vikings with the 2011 Redskins for comparison:

Offensive Rank

TEAM POINTS  YARDS 
2007 Jets 25 26
2008 Vikings  12 17
2011 Redskins  26 16

Top Two Wide Receiver Performance

We disregard backs and tight ends to look at wide-outs who should be the prime targets for big plays. For the Jets, that was Jericho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles. For the Vikings that was Bernard Berrian and Bobby Wade and for the Redskins Jabar Gaffney and Santana Moss.

TEAM REC  TARGETS  PERCENT  AVERAGE  TDs 
2007 Jets  147 216 68 12.1 8
2008 Vikings  101 184 55 15.9 9
2011 Redskins  114 211 54 13.4 8

Offensive Line Rank

We pulled this from Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings.

TEAM  RUN BLOCKING  PASS BLOCKING 
2007 Jets 23 30
2008 Vikings  12 28
2011 Redskins  10 15

Adrian Peterson helped the Vikings rank high in run blocking. The Redskins do not have an Adrian Peterson, yet their much maligned O-Line was more effective than the pre-Favre Jets or Vikings.

Whoa! Maybe Peyton Manning could play behind that line. 

The clincher is that both the Jets and the Vikings showed dramatic improvement on offense the year Favre joined them. The 2008 Jets offense ranked ninth in points and 16th in yards and finished with a 9-7 record. Ironically, the Dolphins won the division with Jets castoff Chad Pennington.

The Jets went the Draft route in 2009 with Mark Sanchez whose performance has yet to match Favre’s. 

The 2009 Vikings fared better, finishing in the top five in points and yards. Favre led the 12-4 Vikings to the conference championship game against the New Orleans Saints. His fourth-quarter interception ended Minnesota’s shot at the Super Bowl. Favre’s 2010 campaign was a disaster.

Here are the takeaway points:

1. Peyton Manning, if healthy (a BIG if), would be a more impactful addition to a QB-challenged team than a top Draft pick rookie would be. The Colts are as aware of that as anyone. Even with his contract, consider it a red flag if the Colts release Manning.

2. Manning’s age (36) may not be an issue, provided his skills have not deteriorated. (Call that the McNabb corollary.) John Elway was 38 when he led the Broncos to their first Super Bowl win. Mike Shanahan is as aware of that as anyone. That might explain the persistent rumors of the Redskins interest in Manning. Shanahan will not shy from Manning’s age. 

3. An elder quarterback on a new team is a one-year wonder. See: Chad Pennington—2008 Dolphins; Mark Brunell—Redskins 2005. The Chiefs got two good years from Joe Montana in 1993 and 1994, although he was modestly less productive than his 49er years. I’ll get back to you on Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans.

Manning would be a “win now” tactic for any team that signs him. The Redskins are not so far off that signing Manning would be a wasted move. It would not be a strategic move with a five or six year benefit. Hog Heaven advocates strategic roster moves. We are looking for perennial contenders here.

Yes, that’s movement from “hell no” to “maybe so” for Hog Heaven’s thinking about the Peytonskins. Washington would still need a playmaking wide receiver for Manning to have any shot to match his 2010 performance. A team is still more than one man.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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