Reggie Wayne and I still want Curtis Painter to play

September 30, 2011

Who will start for the Indianapolis Colts at quarterback on Sunday isn't yet entirely clear. Kerry Collins is still recovering from a concussion, and the team hasn't ruled him out. Meanwhile, the Colts have been preparing Curtis Painter for his first career start.

Colts star receiver Reggie Wayne wants the Painter under center, regardless of the clarity of Kerry Collins' noggin. He's felt that way since before the season even started, when the Colts first signed Collins as a free agent. Wayne reiterated his stance on WQAM in Miami. Via Pro Football Talk:

"It took me two years to learn this offense," Wayne said.  "Now, you mean to tell me you're gonna bring in somebody and he's gonna learn it in 18 days?  That just didn't sit right.  That just didn't sit right with me.  And I know we had Curtis Painter who'd been here for three years.  You just gotta give him a shot.  We gotta give him a chance.

"I may get a lot of flak about this, but that's all the way different from what our whole motto is.  Our whole motto's always been 'the next man up.'  And then we went and got somebody else.  I'm like, 'Well, that's not how we roll, really.'"

Well, no, 0-3 is how the Colts have been rolling. Or getting rolled, as it were. Kerry Collins has a 65.9 quarterback rating through those three games, and is producing a disgusting, disgusting 4.9 yards per attempt. It's impossible to say with any certainty that Curtis Painter would've been any better, but you can't be worse than 0-3.

From a purely curious point of view, I want to see the Painter. I talked about this on the podcast, but it was impossible not to root for Painter on Sunday night. He came out and his first two throws looked like he'd never held a football before. But then he found a little confidence, and made a couple of NFL throws, and it had a very sweet, "look, he's growing up right before our eyes!" vibe to it. It was fun.

I'd like to see if the Painter could grow, develop and thrive, given the opportunity. Reggie Wayne is right -- he's the Colts' best hope. And he's the only thing that can make this week's Monday night game interesting.