Peyton Manning details why Kyle Shanahan is NFL coach he’d most like to play for

If former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning wants to make an NFL comeback, it sounds like the 49ers would have an opportunity sign the Pro Football Hall of Famer.

In an interview with Kevin Clark on ‘This is Football,’ Manning identified Kyle Shanahan as the coach he’d most like to play for if he was able to re-enter the league as a 29-year-old.

Manning said that during his free agency in 2012 he was talking with Kyle’s dad, then-Washington head coach Mike Shanahan, and spent a ton of time watching film with the younger Shanahan.

“I remember just sitting down with Kyle,” Manning said. “We watched film for two hours and I was extremely impressed. And it’s been no surprise to me the success he’s had, not only as a coordinator in Atlanta, but now as a head coach. I think he’s innovative, he grinds, he really works at it.”

Manning went on to detail some of why he likes Shanahan’s offense.

“It starts with their run game, but the stuff they do off their run game it’s unique, it’s different. I think as a quarterback I can just tell Brock Purdy is mentally stimulated every single Sunday. As a quarterback that’s what you want. You want to come to work every single day and go, ‘Wow! What’s gonna be in the offense today? Wow, I see why this play’s gonna be in. Oh, Deebo’s gonna be wide open on this play.’

“I can tell Kyle’s calling a lot of plays where he’s telling Purdy, ‘Hey, just trust me. Kittle’s gonna be wide open on this play.’ That’s a fun offense to play in.”

Given how much success Purdy, the final pick in the 2022 draft, had in just his second season it makes sense that a player of Manning’s caliber would want to see what he could do in Shanahan’s system.

Purdy this season threw for a franchise record 4,280 yards with 31 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, a 69.2 percent completion rate, and a league-high 9.6 yards per attempt.

While Manning would surely love to see what he could do as a passer in the 49ers’ offense, it’s the run game that he points to as the main reason they’re so hard to stop on that side of the ball.

“It starts with their run game,” Manning said. “Chris Foerster’s their line coach – it starts there. They’re challenging those guys up front. They’re scheming run plays like a lot of coaches scheme pass plays. They are spending time and analyzing over and over, ‘How can we do this a little bit better?’ Obviously when you’ve got a guy like Christian McCaffrey it sure does help.

“Look, the shifts and the motions, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. That keeps them from ever being totally comfortable. And then I think a lot of their play-action stuff is off of the exact plays that they’re running the ball out of that same look. That’s hard for a defense, but look, it’s still a player-led offense. Kyle is designing that offense around what his guys do well. And to me that’s a great quality in a coordinator.”

Barring a dramatic breakthrough in cloning technology in the next couple years, the 49ers won’t get a chance to see what a 29-year-old Peyton Manning would look like in their offense. However, the fact that the all-time great QB identifies Shanahan’s offense as the one he’d most like to play in underscores why many believe the 49ers’ head coach is one of the game’s best offensive minds.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire