I was was a guest on Radio SIRIUS 158 with host Norm Rumack last night, and a significant chunk of our 30 minute chat was focused on Reggie Wayne's comments regarding the . signing quarterback to a two-year, $4 million dollar deal
Since training camp started, Reggie has been one of the stanchest supporters of Curtis Painter. Why? Who know. Painter has 1 TD and 5 INTs in preseason play. In regular season play, He's 8-28 (28.6%), 83 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 fumbles, and a quarterback rating of 9.8.
Yet, despite these truly atrocious numbers, Reggie stated back on August 1st that Curtis 'has been taking some hard hits from the media and spectators,' and that he was 'a Curtis Painter fan.'
I like and respect Reggie Wayne, and if he personally likes Curtis, that's fine. But, his suggestion that Curtis has taken some unjustified lumps in his two years as the back-up is simply laughable. When the QB has a rating is 9.8, there is naturally going to be criticism. If Reggie somehow thinks the criticism of Painter has been unfair or unwarranted, he's living in a fantasy world.
This is football. Perform, or prepare yourself to take heat. Curtis hasn't performed. Therefore, all lumps received are justified and, in some cases, necessary. Adversity builds character after all
That said, when the news of the Colts signing Collins made it's way to Reggie's sensitive ears, he once again defended his teammate, Curtis Painter, while, at the same time, somewhat slighting his new teammate, Kerry Collins.
"Listen, I don't want to make it seem like I don't have open arms to anybody that's come into the organization," Wayne said. "If they open the doors for Kerry Collins to come in, that's fine. I can't do anything about that anyway.
"But I'll be damned if we're going to open the door for somebody else and just drop our heads on who we already have. Colts are big on protecting their own, right? So I'm going to help protect our own."
From ESPN (via PFT):
“Who says Kerry’s going to be the starter?” Wayne added. “Just because we bring him in doesn’t mean he’s the starter. He’s got to learn too, right? Unless they gave him a playbook months ago, he’s got to learn to.
Again, I respect Reggie for standing up for his teammate, but come on. Curtis Painter has been given chance after chance after chance to prove himself, and every time he has failed. He was thoroughly outplayed by Tom Brandstater last year in preseason, but somehow Brandstater got the boot and Curtis remained the back-up. This year, once again Curtis has looked terrible in preseason, only this time he's worked exclusively with the first unit.
And please, the whole 'protecting their own' thing is silly. If the player isn't performing, the player should get benched or cut. Doesn't matter if he was drafted by the team, or not. This isn't about rewarding players who were drafted, or giving handouts to friends. This is about winning friggin football games, and as we all have seen repeatedly, Curtis Painter does not help this team win.
I don't expect Reggie Wayne to be objective in all this. Not in the least. He is a team player, and everything he sees is through the subjective lens that comes with being a franchise leader. But there's a difference between being subjective and being so insanely blind to the truth that it crosses the border into absurd.
If anything, Painter should have been kicked to the curb last year, and if the Colts had any doubts about his ability to quarterback the team, they should have signed Kerry Collins back on August 1st. Since the front office clearly misjudged Painter's abilities (a notion confirmed by the Collins signing), they now have to deal with the awkward situation Reggie Wayne has creating by essentially saying Curtis deserves to play over Collins if Peyton Manning cannot go.
Oh, and they have to get their new 38-year-old quarterback ready for Week One in just 17 days.
When all is said and done, if Peyton cannot play, Kerry Collins will get the start. The Polians did not give him $4 mill over two years just so he could back-up Painter. Painter is as good as gone, and if Reggie doesn't like it, that's just too bad.