Curtis Painter: Most improved Colts player in 2010?

Take this for what it's worth, but on the Friday night radio show "The Heavyweights," hosts Jeffery Gorman, Joe Staysniak, and Will Wolford talk Colts football. The show is on WIBC, where Staysniak is an employee. Gorman and Wolford are employees of the Colts. Anyway, last Friday, Gorman and Wolford were chatting about Colts back-up quarterback Curtis Painter. The show had a Painter interview recorded and ran the interview later in the broadcast.

The substance of Gorman and Wolford's Painter chat focused on just how much the Purdue prospect had improved this off-season.

As we all know, the old adage is that an NFL player makes the biggest jump from year one to year two. The reason people say this is because, typically, after one year your brain and body get adjusted to NFL life. Thus, by year two, your talent should start paying dividends on the football field.

Since 2003, we've seen big "year two" jumps from players like Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark, and Robert Mathis.

Last year, the Colts had a pretty impressive haul of rookies. Many of those rookies contributed big time to the Colts Super Bowl run. How those rookies "jump" from year one to year two has been something dorks like me will most certainly watch for at camp in three weeks.

However, if Gorman and Wolford are to be believed (and since they are Colts employees, they are obviously going to be a bit biased), it seems that the 2009 rookie who has improved quite a bit from year one to year two is Curtis Painter.

This is Gorman talking to Wolford on the show last Friday:

Gorman: You watch this. You're going to be up in the booth this year, this season, with Bob Lamey and I'm just telling you this much, we got the best in the business at the quarterback in Peyton Manning [but] Curtis Painter [is] making huge strides from his first to second year. I know you're like, Why are you talking about the back-up quarterback?

Wolford: He was baptized by fire last year. I tell you what, it's amazing. You learn from experience, and he got some experience. Good or bad, he got it. The improvement you make from your first to second year is the most improvement you'll ever make in your career.

It's never fun to talk about the back-up quarterback spot, especially when your starter is a living legend. But, with Jim Sorgi jettisoned this off-season (and now backing up Eli Manning), Painter is now the unquestioned back-up QB.

Two years ago, while at Purdue, Painter showed the kind of talent and ability that teams look for in a starting quarterback. He can put zip on the ball, make the 15-yard out throws, and has a pretty good deep ball. With Painter, it was always the mental aspect of the game that provided the biggest obstacle.

If Gorman and Wolford are correct, maybe Curtis has overcome his mental hurdles and has developed into the kind of talent many people thought he would. We'll find out fairly soon. The first pre-season game, against the 49ers, is August 15th at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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