August 24, 2011
When a man does the same thing 16 Sundays a year for 13 consecutive years, there's a tendency to get complacent in believing that he'll keep doing it, and that he'll never, ever stop. This is why the Colts are looking at the real possibility of starting Kerry Collins in Week 1 against the Texans.
I can't help but think that the Colts organization was caught being lazy here. I'm not talking about recently, like in the time that we've known that Peyton Manning's(notes) neck could be an issue. I'm talking about over the last couple of years, when maybe they should've added a quarterback to the roster a little better than Curtis Painter(notes).
Painter, at the moment, is not very good. Has the front office not done the team a tremendous disservice by not investing in a respectable backup at any point since Jim Sorgi left?
It's nothing against Kerry Collins(notes). In fact, I like Kerry Collins, and I think he's a decent option as a backup quarterback. He'll do better when he's got more than two weeks to learn a new playbook and fit in with new players, and for that matter, he'd probably do better behind a better offensive line, too. He's an upgrade over what's there, but he's not the kind of upgrade that's going to win more than half his starts with the Colts, either.
If you're a young team without any reasonable expectation of making the playoffs, something like that is fine. You're probably starting a young guy at quarterback anyway, and if he happens to get hurt, then you take a look at another young guy if you have one.
But if you're the Colts, and your whole team is pretty much built around the quarterback position, you've got to have more than one good one. Manning has been amazingly durable, but you can't count on that forever. He's not a cyborg. He's not superhuman. At 35 years old, he is less superhuman with each passing day.
You look at the Colts' biggest rivals for AFC supremacy, and they're not in a similar situation with their backups. The Steelers have Byron Leftwich(notes). The Chargers have Billy Volek(notes). The Patriots drafted Ryan Mallett(notes), and before that, had a backup that went out and got $28 million guaranteed as a free agent. I'll grant you, the Jets aren't in tremendous shape with Mark Brunell(notes) as a backup, but they don't have a real good starter, either.
The Colts have been living dangerously with their number two quarterback for a while now. It may have just caught up with them.
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