After three games and three losses, it’s time for Curtis Painter to take over as the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
Although it’s early in the season, the Kerry Collins experiment doesn’t appear to be working out as planned. Collins has the lowest starting quarterback passing rating in the National Football League, and the offense has looked hopeless. Collins’ inability to escape the pocket, combined with a work in progress offensive line has resulted in only two touchdown drives. When he’s been able to get the offense in the red zone, his accuracy declines and the Colts end up settling for field goals.
The offense showed some improvement in the 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with Joseph Addai running the football and more receivers contributing, but those bombs from Collins to Pierre Garcon will never work. They just waste downs and put more pressure on the offense to sustain drives. Unless Jim Plunkett and Cliff Branch are on the roster, they need to erase that chapter form the Colts’ playbook.
Forget the Division and the playoffs. Colts’ president Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell should insert Painter and see what he can do over a full season. If Indianapolis ends up with a high draft pick in 2012, a full season evaluation of Painter will help determine which direction the Colts go in next year’s draft selections.
After Collins left the Steelers game with concussion, Painter came close to getting the team to its first win of the season. He gets a pass on that misfire to Garcon on his first possession. He probably had so much adrenalin flowing that he could have thrown that pass through that giant window in Lucas Oil Stadium.
After the Polamalu touchdown, made possible by another offensive line implosion, Painter settled down and orchestrated the Colts most impressive drive of the season. He looked comfortable and confident in the 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive with 2:09 remaining, before the Steelers kicked the winning field goal. It would have been interesting to see how Painter would have performed if the Colts had the football in the last two minutes instead of Pittsburgh. I know that one drive doesn’t make a season, but I saw things from Painter in five minutes that Collins hasn’t done done in three starts.
Painter has taken most of the reps this week in preparation for Monday Night’s game at Tampa Bay, but the Colts have yet to name a starter. Painter has taken more reps in training camp and practice than he has in the past two seasons combined. He says that the more he works with the first team offense, the more comfortable he gets
“We had a good drive last week and that was a positive,” he said Thursday on the colts.com website. “I think that it has helped me by having reps in camp with the first team. Hopefully, within the next few days I’ll know something. It would certainly be a great opportunity. It’s a big Monday night game , so it would be exciting.”