EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 18: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants is sacked by Darrion Scott #76 of the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
The Giants and their fans are still celebrating their Super Bowl victory. Now it is time for the Redskins to study the "Blue Print" for a championship.
So the Redskins beat the Giants twice this season, which along with a dollar will get you nothing at a Starbucks. Back in the day, if the Giants went to a Super Bowl it meant the Redskins would win the whole thing the following year. It happened after Super Bowl XXI and XXV, but the Skins did not even make the Playoffs after the Giants Super Bowl XLII win over the Patriots.
The Redskins also came up short on the old theory that they were the only franchise that knew how to handle labor strife, winning two Super Bowls during strike-affected years. It did not help this season, maybe because it was actually a lock out.
Anyhow, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from this year's Super Bowl Champion Giants that are covered in this week's edition of Chain Reactions.
Get a Manning at QB
The easiest thing would be to sign Peyton Manning once he is free. However, Peyton will have plenty of suitors better suited to win right away than the Redskins. So it might not be a bad idea to talk to Archie about purchasing some DNA from him and making a younger Manning.
That option is probably too long of a process, and I know Dan Snyder is the new and more patient version, but let's be real here. So draft a quarterback and have him change his last name to Manning. OK, enough goofing around, they must find a quarterback that can grow into an elite QB.
Remember Eli was not always Eli either. Even after his magnificent run in the 2008 Playoffs, he had struggles. Last season alone, he threw 25 interceptions. The Giants got playmakers around Eli and let him play through his mistakes and rough seasons.
The Redskins next quarterback needs the same ingredients and same level of patience from the organization.
Old Coaches Can Coach
Tom Coughlin is the oldest coach in the NFL at 65 years old and Bill Belichick is 59. It just goes to show you that your head coach does not have to be a Harbaugh or Mike Tomlin to relate to the younger players. Good news for Shanahan who, like "The Hoodie" is 59.
The metamorphosis of Coughlin has been well documented. As someone who covered him back in Jacksonville, it is almost unrecognizable. During the season he rarely smiled or lightened up, especially with the media. Jokes, laughs, any of those things could get you the steely blue-eyed stare down.
The one thing I always liked about Coughlin was his consistency with his approach to players and media. Some of the things Shanahan does reminds me of Coughlin. However, any good or great leader needs to evolve or be willing to change with the times. It can't be "my way is the only way," especially coming off back to back double digit loss seasons.
I'm not suggesting that Shanahan needs to suddenly hold poker night at his house for the team or be a player's coach. I do think he needs to take a serious look in the mirror and do some self-scouting this off-season. The last five seasons Shanahan has been a head coach, his teams have been watching the playoffs and it has been 13 years since he won a second straight Super Bowl in Denver. He has gone 12 seasons without getting back to the big game.
That all being said the Skins must remain patient if they truly believe they made the right hire with Shanahan. Tom Coughlin has been fired in the media at least 1,000 times yet he has as many Lombardi Trophies as his mentor Bill Parcells. The Giants organization does not get swayed by pressures from the outside or quick fix PR moves. If this year is not a playoff season, will the Redskins remain as patient?
Stay the Course on Draft Picks
Last year the Redskins began to care about the draft again for the first time in a real long time. Rich Tandler from CSN Washington lays out how far the Skins need to go in order to reach the level of this year's Super Bowl teams.
The roster, although improving on the draft front, is still too reliant on players that were drafted by other teams.
The Redskins acquired 30 of their players from other teams while the Giants and Patriot imported 16 and 19 from elsewhere, respectively.
The Redskins had 11 of their 12 2011 draft picks on the roster at one time or another during the season but that didn't make up for years of eschewing the draft as a prime method of team building. New York drafted 25 of its players and New England drafted 24.
Washington also noticeably lags behind when it comes to finding undrafted free agents who can make the team. The Redskins have just five on their roster while the Giants uncovered 12 hidden gems after the draft and the Patriots 10.
The Giants got Eli in the big draft-day trade with San Diego for Phillip Rivers. They took Hakeem Nicks in the first round. Victor Cruz is a undrafted free agent. Ahmad Bradshaw was a 7th rounder, and Justin Tuck was a third rounder. The list goes on and on. In 2005 when the Giants did not have a 1st or their 5th because of the Eli deal they still walked away with cornerback Corey Webster, Tuck, and Brandon Jacobs. Free agency is great to get a missing piece and the right fit, but clearly the best approach to building a team remains drafting. Hopefully, the Redskins stick with their 2011 approach this season.
Big Play Wide Receiver
Sure Mario Manninghan had the catch and Victor Cruz had the TD dance, but the Giants' most talented and important wide receiver is Hakeem Nicks. He is a physical big play guy, something the Redskins are sorely missing. We saw brief flashes of it in Leonard Hankerson.
After quarterback the Redskins' next biggest need on offense is wide receiver. Luckily, it also looks like there are some big-time prospects at the position in April's Draft. Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon appears to be the best of the best, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd is bigger at 6-3, and then there is the 6-4, 230 lb frame of South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery.
Now all the Redskins need to do is get the right quarterback and make sure they don't mortgage the future to do it. I never said it would be easy.