Painter v. Orlovsky

Nate breaks down the comparison between Colts quarterbacks Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter.


Some have made the claim recently that Orlvosky has played at a level Curtis Painter is not capable of.

I believe Painter not only played at that level, but surpassed it. Painter’s play was never the same after the New Orleans game. Something about that experience damaged him going forward. While Orlovsky is clearly better than Painter was in his last few weeks, he’s not better than Painter was in his first four games. Here are those numbers comparing Painter’s first four games (Pittsburgh, Tampa, KC, and Cincinnati) to Orlvosky’s last four games (NE, Balt, Tenn, Hou)

Comp Att % Yards YPA TD INT Rating Sack Rate Fumbles
Painter 56 102 55.0 806 7.9 5 1 93.0 5.6 3
Orlovsky 81 132 61.4 815 6.2 5 2 85.3 6.4 5

Orlvosky is clearly inferior. He’s especially bad in the pocket, taking more sacks and fumbling more often.

How did the offense do with each player?

Painter: 18.7 PPG (just for the 3 starts, leaving Pittsburgh off since he didn’t play the whole game)

Orlovsky: 18.3 PPG (doesn’t get credit for defensive score against Tennessee, obviously)

How about on a per drive basis?

3rd dn Att Con % Yds Plys Y/P Drives Y/D Points Pnts/
Painter 17 40 42.5 1049 182 5.8 35 30.0 65 .36 1.9
Orlovsky 22 58 37.9 1211 254 4.8 43 28.2 73 .29 1.7

From week 2 when he entered the Pittsburgh game through the Cincinnati game, the offense ran better under Curtis Painter than it has during Dan Orlovsky’s 4 starts.

It scored more per drive, per play, and was better on 3rd down. Painter personally played better in his first four games than Orlovsky did in his four starts.

Now, I am not saying Orlvosky shouldn’t be playing, he should. We all know what happened that night in New Orleans, and Painter was horrible from then on. It’s like he wasn’t even the same player anymore. Orlovsky now is better than Painter now. No one is questioning that.

However, for anyone to assert that Orlovsky is doing things Painter is incapable of, or that Orlvosky would have run the offense better than Painter early in the season is to deny reality.

People forget that Painter was credible for several games. He wasn’t good. He was just playing a little better than Orlvosky is right now. The Painter we saw against Jacksonville and Carolina was inept and deserving of being benched. It wasn’t always that way.