Thought of Manning as 49er never took off locally

March 7, 2012, 3:21 pm
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Reports are surfacing about teams holding internal discussions and checking their bank accounts with the intention of landing soon-to-be-former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.There's been some national buzz that the 49ers, a team that advanced within an overtime loss in the NFC championship game from the Super Bowl, would be a nice landing spot for the 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback.Locally, the thought never seemed to gain a lot of traction.Coach Jim Harbaugh, who has the respect of the locker room for being a man of his word, seemed to put an end to any speculation weeks ago."Yeah, Alex (Smith) is our guy," Harbaugh said. "He had a tremendous season. Definitely, as a coach you worry about a lot of things. And when a quarterback is not signed and he is a free agent that leads to some lost sleep."MAIOCCO: Alex Smith and the 49ers: What's taking so long?
General manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers feel "very comfortable" with their situation at quarterback, namely with Smith as the starter and Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien behind him.And Baalke went so far as to claim on Tuesday that there were no in-depth conversations within the 49ers organization on the subject of Manning wearing 49ers colors after his release from the Colts."We haven't had Peyton in here nor are we even talking about those things internally right now," Baalke said in an interview on KNBR. "Is he going to play? I don't know. That's for the doctors to make the decision on and for him."REWIND: Manning makes no sense for 49ers with Smith, Kaepernick around
Before the doctors even played a role in this -- and the doctors must play a role in this -- the team would have to come to a decision to make a huge commitment to Manning.And we're not just talking about finances.Manning was in the same system with the Colts since he arrived as the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. Part of what made him so good was his encyclopedic knowledge of the offense.RELATED: Jerry Rice says the 49ers should pursue Manning
He'll be going to a different team, leaving the team for which he had been a de facto offensive coordinator as well as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for so long.So how much of the Colts' offense will his new team allow Manning to bring with him? Probably as much as Manning wishes to bring with him.
Manning will turn 36 later this month, and it only seems wise that his new team will have to make a major adjustment. Any team that signs Manning must let him be who he has always been. The rest of the team and the coaching staff would have to learn from him.Manning did not play in 2011 because of multiple neck procedures, including spinal fusion in September. If he is (and remains) healthy enough to play again, he'll be with a different team -- a team that will be putting its season in Manning's hands.REWIND: 49ers feel good about their three QBs
Would Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman dramatically rework their playbook to accommodate one player?The 49ers and Alex Smith remain in contract talks toward a multi-year extension. You can still assume that a new deal will be reached before or shortly after the opening of free agency on March 13.Harbaugh said -- and continues to repeat -- he is committed to Alex Smith. And Smith, theoretically, still has his best football years ahead of him. He turns 28 in May. Manning had his three best seasons when he was 28, 29 and 30.This offseason should also provide Smith and the others with a full offseason to learn the intricacies of the offense. Roman said late in the season that Smith will not have to spend as many late nights at the 49ers facility during the 2012 season because he'll have a better grasp of the offense.
The team that signs Manning might do it the other way. Manning would be teaching the coaching staff.That's why around these parts it was difficult to get too carried away with the thought that the 49ers ever would consider making such a dramatic commitment.