The Indianapolis Colts are embroiled in their own version of a quarterback controversy, although it’s not really like any (or at least many) others in recent memory. This one stems, of course, from Peyton Manning’s continued rehab from off-season neck surgery and the jitters that the situation has induced among us Colts faithful. Owner Jim Irsay has seized on this opportunity to have a little fun at our expense, and media outlets far and wide have picked up on his Tweets regarding an alleged visit to Brett Favre’s hometown. Given the roiling heartburn that most of us have as we consider life for even part of this season without Manning, I think it’s appropriate to take a quick look at the supposed options for who might start at QB for the Colts in Game 1 against the Houston Texans on September 11. Here are the candidates.
No one wants to see this scenario unfold, and that may even include Painter himself. The former Purdue Boilermaker is on top of the quarterback depth chart for now, though, so if Manning can’t go, the job is Painter’s — at least on paper.
Orlovsky was brought in to compete with Painter for the backup role, and he has done that. One has been about as good as the other, so I think the “incumbent” would have a slight edge.
This is the one that has everyone up in arms, of course, but how likely is it? Favre looked shaky toward the end of last season with the Vikings, but he probably still has something left in the tank. On the other hand, he finally seemed to have had his fill of the rigors of NFL life after a rough year, and he, like Manning, has had no training camp. And he’s six years older than Manning. I think Irsay’s Tweet was all just fun and games designed to take some of the focus off of the stench coming from downtown Indy last weekend.
Kerry Collins, Brady Quinn, Jim Sorgi
These guys each represent a different group of possibilities, and each has his strengths and weaknesses. Collins is the wily veteran who has enjoyed success in the past, Quinn is the pretty boy who seems to have a new lease on the NFL in Denver, and Sorgi is the guy who previously held Peyton Manning’s clipboard the longest. Sorgi didn’t do anything particularly spectacular while in Indianapolis before, and Quinn probably really wants a shot at a long-term starting job somewhere. Collins, 38, might actually be a decent option, because he would be ready to roll pretty quickly and would have no delusions about taking away Manning’s job. There are likely any number of other players who could fit into these slots, as well, but these are the ones receiving the most play at the moment.
Duh. I still think it’s a better-than-even bet that Manning is under center on September 11. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the plan all along was to have him miss out on the pre-season in order to cut down on the beatings that his 35-year-old body will take this year. It might be a cynical view, but the Colts DID just sign him to a huge contract, hometown discount or not, and smart teams don’t generally do that unless they’re pretty confident in a player’s health.
Are there other scenarios? Sure there are, but they’re not as sexy as some of these, and probably not as likely, either. For my money, I’m banking on Number 18 to begin the season as the starting QB for the Colts until another name appears on the roster. If we wake up one morning to find that Favre or Collins or David Garrard is a Colt, then we can really panic.