Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell announced Friday that Curtis Painter will get his first career start Monday night against the Buccaneers, a move that seemed inevitable when he (Caldwell) was evading every question about what actually happened to Kerry Collins. From Colts.com:
At this point, with two days of practice missed (there's) pretty important stuff that we've put in and it's tough to reclaim that at this stage. We will see how his evaluation goes, but Curtis (Painter) will end up starting the game.
You can only really get one (quarterback) ready, that’s the way it is in terms of the amount of time you have. (With) the amount of time you spend on the field, it is very, very difficult to get two guys prepared to play a ballgame. He’s getting all of the work, and I think he will benefit from it as well.
Caldwell also said that Painter is excited for the opportunity:
He’s pretty excited about it, there’s no question about it. You can see it. He's always pretty level-headed, never too high, never too low. You can certainly see the focus and intent in his eyes, and he’s always real focused anyway. He’s excited about it.
Every time he has been out there, he certainly has responded very, very well. I think you could see that in the preseason game that he played in an extensive amount, he performed well. After a couple of glitches in this past ballgame, he took the team down the field 80 yards. Obviously, he did a nice job there as well. I think with all the work and preparation, he will be fine.
As I said in my preview article, I think this team, especially the offense, will rally around Painter and play with the same intensity and effort that they did Sunday night. Whether it turns into a win still remains to be seen, but I think we'll see the same kind of game Monday in Tampa as we did against the Steelers. Add in the fact that Tampa's defense hasn't been that impressive so far this season, and the Colts have a chance to win.
As far as long-term for Painter, I think it will take a complete failure for him not to continue starting the rest of the season, barring injury. Collins has only gotten three starts after coming into the offense cold, so it may be a bit premature to cut ties with him, but nothing clicked in those three games to give us any sense that the Collins was getting on the same page as his receivers. I see no scenario where Collins is on this team next season, and for all intents and purposes the playoffs aren't a possibility for the Colts, so why not see what you have in Painter? If the Colts continue to lose, we'll know that they'll need a backup QB next season. If Painter plays well, you know you have a guy that can step in if Peyton Manning can't go in the future.