The Indianapolis Colts announced today that Curtis Painter will be the starting quarterback when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this coming Monday Night. Considering Curtis Painter has been on the roster since 2009 but was not the starter on opening day, it doesn’t seem the team has a lot of faith in his ability to carry them. But let’s be real, no way a sixth round draft pick was ever going to be the heir apparent to Peyton Manning. Which begs the question, why weren’t the Colts preparing for the end of Peyton’s career? Sure, the contract he signed recently is for five more years but did they really think he’d play until he was 40?
The Colts have been Peyton Manning’s team since they drafted him in 1998. Every season we hear about how he single-handedly runs the offense and calls the plays himself. Unless the backup quarterback also possessed that skill (unlikely) the Colts would have a significant drop off if Peyton were ever unavailable. Why would the Colts allow themselves to be put in that situation? Peyton has a serious neck injury and is likely out for the entire 2011 – 2012 season and where does that leave the Colts, 0-3 (and counting).
Were the Colts afraid of alienating and offending Peyton Manning the way the Green Bay Packers did Brett Favre when they drafted Aaron Rodgers in the first round? Peyton seems to be a rational man so couldn’t Jim Irsay sit him down and assure him that his position was safe but that the franchise needed to start at least thinking about the future. I know Peyton Manning’s backup isn’t a glamorous job in the NFL but couldn’t the Colts at least have gotten a veteran to back him up? Why is a second year guy the next man on the depth chart? Why did they have to fish Kerry Collins out of the retirement pool to start the year?
There are far too many questions that surround how this was handled. All we really know is Curtis Painter doesn’t seem to be Matt Cassel (who was able to handle the reigns for Tom Brady when he went down to injury) and the Colts are far too dependent on one man to run their show. Perhaps now the franchise starts to take inventory and realizes that their future hinges on a 35 year old man who had a surgery that reduced the mobility in his neck at least 10%. Or maybe the future is now and they’ll tank the entire season and get Andrew Luck. Personally, I think that’s unlikely because they wouldn’t give up on Manning that easily, would they?