Should Colts Quarterback Curtis Painter Be Full-Time Starter?

 

Curtis Painter preparing to take the reigns from Kerry Collins. (Thomas B. Shea | Getty Images)

During training camp, as rumors began stirring that Peyton Manning may not be ready for the Colts’ season-opener against the Houston Texans, the backup quarterbacks were Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter.

No offense to either player, but they weren’t the guys Colts fans wanted to count on. Orlovsky has had his share of mistakes, most notably when he was with the Detroit Lions a few years back and scrambled out of the red zone for a safety. Colts fans won’t ever forget Curtis Painter with his blunders, who was just plain awful in the last two games of the 2009 season, putting up a 9.8 rating with 83 yards and two picks versus the Bills and Jets.

With that, the Colts needed a backup they could truly count on. Players that were up for grabs seemed like Brett Favre, Kerry Collins, and even former backup Jim Sorgi. The Colts wound up going with Collins, talking the 38-year-old out of retirement. He only had about three weeks to prepare.

When the signing was announced, Collins wasn’t really in for a warm welcome. Well, at least from Reggie Wayne, who was on Team Painter.

Here is Wayne’s full quote, via the Associated Press:

“We don’t even know him, we ain’t vanilla, man, we ain’t no simple offense. So for him to can come in here and be the starter, I don’t see it. I think that’s a step back.

“Who says Kerry’s going to be the starter? Just because we bring him in doesn’t mean he’s the starter.  He’s got to learn too, right?  Unless they gave him a playbook months ago, he’s got to learn to.

“I don’t care who you are, I mean I’m not going to let anyone just come in here and just push someone [like Curtis Painter] aside like you’re that dog now, you know what I mean?”

As the Colts enter Week Five of the NFL season, Wayne has been all but right on Collins. The Colts took a major step back putting him ahead of Painter.

The Week Three Sunday night match-up against the Steelers is a perfect example of this. There were many times the Colts made major stops on defense, sometimes getting turnovers and ending up in Steelers’ territory. Every time Collins was behind center, Indianapolis did not score. They were just atrocious in the red zone under Collins.

Towards the second half of the game, Collins was ruled out due to a concussion. In came Curtis Painter. It was a big moment, because nobody knew what was going to come from him. It started off. . . okay, as Painter missed on a huge touchdown when he overthrew Pierre Garcon.

After that, Colts fans saw the 2009 Curtis Painter, as he fumbled — which was recovered by Troy Polamalu for a touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 20-13. Fans quickly wished Collins was back in the game. A Collins return wasn’t in the cards and the team gave the kid a chance to redeem himself. After all, there was still time and the Colts could still come back.

That’s when Painter started clicking, making big throws, and later led to a game-tying touchdown by Joseph Addai.

This brought questions to if Painter was the guy. The Colts had options, could target a player like David Garrard, but it was too late. The Colts had no choice: Painter was their guy for next week.

Painter wasn’t really that bad versus Pittsburgh. Even though it looked bad on paper, going five-of-eleven for 60 yards with a 62.7 rating, it was still better than Collins. Painter played about a third of the game and only had 30 yards less than Collins. He actually led the Colts to a touchdown on offense, not just field goals.

Against Tampa Bay, Painter excelled. He started clicking right from the first drive, connecting with receivers like Peyton Manning did. After the first drive, Indianapolis was up 3-0.

Later in the game, Painter would connect with Pierre Garcon for an 87-yard touchdown, longer than Manning has ever had in his career. He connected with Garcon again for a 60-yarder.

The Colts lost 24-17, but Painter played solid in his first NFL start. While he only completed 43-percent of his passes, he had 281 yards with two touchdowns and a 99.4 rating. Collins’ highest yard-total and rating was 197 yards and an 82.3 rating.

Indianapolis is aiming for their first win of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Painter started again.

This brings us to the question: should Curtis Painter be full-time starter over Collins?

There’s no question he should be. Painter has only played one-and-one-third of the games this season and already has just as many yards as Collins, who has played about two-and-two-thirds. He has already matched him in touchdowns and has beaten him in quarterback rating.

Painter has had far more success — like actually being able to score in the red zone. He can connect much better with his receivers. Really, Painter has all-around just been a better QB than Collins and, he has earned the right to become starter for the rest of the season (unless, you know, Peyton Manning comes back).

Painter needs to have a good game (he has so far) and hopefully he can lead Indianapolis for their first victory of the season.

Team Painter all the way, my friends.

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