Let me start this (I seem to begin a lot of my posts that way ) by pointing something out. This is NOT a quarterback discussion thread. I may use examples of QB play, but I'll try to use others as well. Discussion about quarterbacks is fine, but keep in mind the general theme of the thread... puhllleeeaaaassseeee! *makes begging face that you can't seem to resist*
Anyways, there needs to be different thought processes throughout the decision making process for different people.
Mike Shanahan needs to find ways to preserve his job. Whether that means after this season, or after his five years are up. Not only that, even if he chooses not to remain the head coach, his success may mean his son's hiring. Decisions for him need to be the best for the team right now (meaning in the next 2-3 years). Peyton Manning, for him, may be a great decision if the guy is healthy and can play.
Bruce Allen's job is a bit different. Bruce Allen needs to think about the team's future. I think he'll be around even if Shanahan isn't in the near future. He needs to think of direction. Going into next season without a quarterback means we need to think about one in the 2013 Draft. Which, if Shanahan is still around, is year four out of five. If Shanahan continues to struggle, whoever we draft in 2013 is caught in limbo... Big time. If whoever we bring in doesn't need that guy at the helm, we're in the market for a quarterback... Again. That's devastating to the franchise AND to the kid we draft.
Essentially, these two have the same goal in mind: Winning. Shanahan should have a few years to do it, Bruce should have a bit longer. They both need to think differently though. Shanahan can't have the same long term health of the franchise in mind that Bruce Allen can.
This is why I think Shanahan has a realistic point of view from shying away from the whole "trade up to get a QB" scenario. He should at the very least ride out his contract. He can find a guy next year that he believes can help this team out in the long term. Because if it doesn't work out, he's moving on to a different situation.
Bruce Allen, on the other hand, has to be thinking that the best decision is to trade up. (Well, he doesn't HAVE to be thinking that, this is 100% pure conjecture). Getting a guy like Luck or RG3 could not only provide a quarterback to help us win now, but preserve the franchise's future. You'd have less coaching change, if they are successful with the new quarterback, there is continuity in the franchise. It gives the quarterback time to prove his worth, and it gives you one more year to gather other pieces of the puzzle. Waiting a year is dangerous, because again, there is no guarantee that you'll get a guy, and then you may be waiting until year five to do just that... And that's EXTREMELY dangerous for the franchise's health.
And if they do have differing opinions, I think that's an extremely GOOD thing for this franchise. I'm not trying to argue otherwise. But I could totally see the two of them having different points of view.
Now, if we can't move up, this conversation is all for naught, as there would be nothing our team can do but consider other options.
But the tl;dr version of this is simple: These two guys should have two different paths to the same goal: Winning. And in that vein, it's a great dilemma.
Hopefully, and I don't see it being an issue, these two guys can come to an agreement on what to do and set out to do it.