The concern it sent for Peyton Manning's(notes) prospects aside, the Indianapolis Colts' signing of veteran quarterback Kerry Collins(notes) to a two-year, $4 million contract on Wednesday was met with decidedly mixed reviews. Never mind that when he reversed his recent retirement, Collins once again became the NFL's second-most prolific active quarterback in passing yards (with only Manning ahead of him) — the thought has been, as our own MJD pointed out, that the Colts should have been on top of the Manning replacement issue long before now.
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Colts receiver Reggie Wayne(notes), one of the team's best players in recent years, would seem to agree. He didn't pull any punches when talking about Collins' arrival to local media and the Associated Press.
"We don't even know him, we ain't vanilla, man, we ain't no simple offense. [...] So for him to 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 too. […] He's going to have some studying to do. I'm not sure how he is with the books, not sure about Penn State's education, but he'll have to do some studying. [...]
"I don't care who you are, I mean I'm not going to let anyone just come in here and just push someone aside like you're that dog now, you know what I mean?"
Well, with all due respect to Mr. Wayne … how shall I put this? Duh, dude. Of course Collins will be a "step back" from Manning. Unless the Colts could somehow magically manage to transplant Tom Brady(notes), Aaron Rodgers(notes) or Philip Rivers(notes) to Lucas Oil Stadium, there's going to be a downturn.
Wayne also had some words of support for backup Curtis Painter, which voiced an interesting but flawed premise (at least based on statistics).
"I don't want to make it seem like I'm not welcoming or having open arms to anybody that comes to our organization," Wayne said to the local media. "If they open the doors for Kerry Collins to come, then that's fine. I can't do (anything) about that anyways. But I'll be damned if we're going to open the doors for someone else, and just drop our heads on who we already have. The Colts are big on protecting their own, so I'm (going to) help protect our own."
Last year for the Tennessee Titans, Collins completed 160 passes in 278 attempts for 1,823 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In his entire NFL career (which, admittedly, isn't that long; he was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft), Painter has completed eight regular-season passes out of 28 attempts for 83 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
With all due respect to Reggie Wayne, we're taking the over that Colts team president Bill Polian, who drafted Manning in 1998 with for the Colts and Collins in 1995 for the then-expansion Carolina Panthers, knows what he's doing with this signing. In two preseason games this year, Painter is 8 of 16 for 95 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Come to think of it, we'd probably rather have Kerry Collins, too.
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