Before you ask why Mark Rypien’s opinion on the Redskins’ quarterback situation matters, consider these three facts:
1) Rypien is the last guy to quarterback Washington to a Super Bowl, and one of the few successful home-grown quarterbacks in the franchise’s history.
2) Despite living out of the area, Rypien has frequently described himself as an ardent Skins fan who closely follows the team.
3) Rypien was Peyton Manning’s teammate in Indianapolis during the 2001 season, and evidently has kept in touch with the quarterback.
And so, all that being said, Rypien was on ESPN 980 this week, and was asked if the Redskins should pursue Manning.
“This is a different guy than the [guys] maybe 10 years ago Daniel Snyder brought in, maybe past their primes,” Rypien said. “This is a different bird here. Now, the one thing that I would say is, IF he’s healthy. That’s the one piece of this puzzle that would be a little bit alarming is his health and that neck injury that he had.
“And if that’s ok and he’s ok, there’s no reason at all that you would not bring that guy, unless we as Redskins fans don’t want to go back to Super Bowls. I mean, [unless] we got kind of bored with going to Super Bowls and we don’t care any more about going back to Super Bowls so we’ll just kind of stay where we’re at — unless we’re there — then this guy is the real deal. His brother had a great Super Bowl and is an amazing player; [but] this guy takes it to a different level. Eli makes some physical plays that are amazing, but Peyton’s gonna put you in positions and do things on a football field that’s gonna make you win. That’s just the facts....
“That’s my personal opinion. I know the guy, I know his physical abilities, but more importantly I think he’s got a mental outlook on this game that none other [players] that I’ve seen have. He definitely would be someone I would consider highly to [lead] the Redskins, if that’s the direction they’re going.”
Eventually, Rypien was asked whether there would be an issue with Peyton Manning fitting into a Shanahan offense.
“I would make it all about Peyton Manning,” Rypien said. “I would make it all about Peyton Manning....You’ve got to sit down, you’ve got to put game plans together, you’ve got to know the tendencies, and every week he spends 40 to 50 to 60 hours at home watching video. So it’s not just by pure luck that he knows what the other team’s gonna be in before the other team knows what they’re gonna be in. I mean, it’s a lot of studying....So I’d let Peyton be Peyton. I would never hold the reins back with someone that knows and understands and puts his team in a position to win each and every week....
“You had a sense of his discipline in the film room, his work ethic, his ability off the field, working out in the weight room. All the tangible things that you’d like to say most guys have, well he has all of those....I could sense it [in 2001]. I knew by working with him daily, practicing daily, talking football with him daily that this guy was at a different level. Almost a savant at time. He was pretty special.”
And then Rypien was also asked whether it wouldn’t be better for the team to attempt to find a quarterback in the draft.
“You know, the Redskins and drafting a guy for the future hasn’t actually been one of their strong suits,” Rypien said. “You get the kid out of Baylor? I mean, that’s not a bad choice either....You can bring a guy that’s a second- or third-round pick, or maybe a slappy like myself who’s a sixth-round pick. You find a diamond in the rough every now and again that learns a system and is willing to learn a system.”
And so, dramatic conclusion?
“If all indications are that he’s healthy and ok to go and has four or five years left in him, it’d be the best thing the Redskins could do in my opinion,” Rypien said.
Steve Young: “It’s all in place”
Theismann: “Horrific Idea”
Mortensen: Not horrific
Schlereth: Eli wouldn’t be a deterrent
JLC and Feinstein: Only for the cash
Dilfer: “Very Realistic”
Gibbs: Needs Indy offense
Vincent Gray: Been down this path before