I wanted to devote a separate story, albeit a quick one, to recognize an NFL weekend where nearly 10% of NFL teams will have a Purdue alumnus starting at quarterback. To have two starting quarterbacks (Brees and Orton) is pretty special, but three is very rare.
When Curtis Painter left Purdue, I imagined that his post-college career would include bouncing from team to team and perhaps practice squad to practice squad in the NFL. However, he found himself in a fantastic situation to sit behind a walking legend in Peyton Manning. Then, just before the start of the 2011 season, the unthinkable happened — it had been reported that Peyton had surgery earlier in the year and his ability to return was in question.
While Painter has not had success yet in the NFL (an abysmal quarterback rating and completion percentage so far), he was still granted some leniency because it’s not easy to replace a future Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. Despite past failures, Painter has a good situation because there are literally no expectations for the Colts this year since Manning went down and they started 0-3. Hopefully this will allow Painter to relax and play with confidence. Kerry Collins has looked pretty bad so far this year, so even if Collins had not gotten injured with a concussion last Sunday, the Colts fans were clamoring for a change.
I had the pleasure to attend the Steelers/Colts game last Sunday (I was wearing black and gold, sorry Colts fans) and when Painter got the call to replace a shaken Collins, the crowd applauded and perked up. Even though Painter missed Pierre Garcon on his first possession for what could have been a big play, possibly even a touchdown, Painter led the Colts to a touchdown on his third possession. On the second possession, Troy Polamalu scooped up a Curtis Painter fumble from a blindside hit for an easy touchdown. Obviously, there was both good and bad for Painter in that game. Still, the expectations are low for the Colts offense and Indianapolis has a steady rushing attack that will help an inexperienced Painter move the ball. I think Curtis Painter has a decent chance at playing the rest of the year if he can have a couple of good showings in the next one to two games. Unfortunately, another elite quarterback is going to walk through the door for the Colts and developing Painter will at least help give Manning a serviceable back-up quarterback.
Best of luck to Painter and the Colts this Monday as they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.