Faith is the word for the Colts when it comes to Curtis Painter

FootballSportsJim CaldwellPeyton ManningJeff SaturdayNew York Jets

Could it be his impending contract, lack of targets in the Colts' playoff game last January, or maybe the disappearance of his facial hair?

Nope.

Reggie Wayne's worries about controversy surrounded, of all people, the back up quarterback.

"Don’t try to blow this up the wrong way talking to everybody," said Wayne of the statement he was about to make at the beginning of camp.

Oddly it was his positivity about Curtis Painter that seemed have a chance of making some waves.

"I’m kind of eager to get in there with Curtis.  I’m a Curtis Painter fan," said Wayne of the backup who fills in with the first team as starter Peyton Manning recovers from neck surgery. "He has been taking some hard hits from the media and from spectators the last few years.  But, I’m a big fan of his and am kind of eager to go out there and get some reps with him. 

"Hopefully we can make each other be good."

Some fans and media might ride that off as team speak, considering that Painter has been the subject of criticism since becoming a surprise pick for the backup job in 2009.

The Vincennes native was put into an unusual situation on December 27th of that year, when the 14-0 Colts decided to bench their starters at home against the Jets with a five-point lead.

Painter came in and was ineffective, going 4-for-11 with an interception and fumbled on a hit in the third quarter which New York recovered and scored the eventual game-winning touchdown.

Three interceptions in the first game of the 2010 preseason also left a sour taste in people's mouths despite more solid performances the rest of the way.

"I kinda hold myself to my own standard and obviously I want to play better," said Painter of the criticism he hears. "Even if I was to go out and have a great game, I always want to get better at something."

Yet offensive players from the line to the receiving corps continued to throw their support behind the quarterback during his first week of guiding the first team offense.

"I mean he came out and he knows our offense," said center Jeff Saturday of Painter. "He’s been in our system now and did a good job of commanding the offense and doing what he needed to do to get guys in the right spots."

Why the faith? Head coach Jim Caldwell, who made Painter the backup quarterback in his first year as head coach, focuses on his midset over the past year.

"Curtis is a lot more relaxed than he has been in the last couple years because he is familiar with the system," said Caldwell. "But he has a ways to go and these extra reps are going to help him.”

Perhaps the have already, since Painter was a consistent 16-of-26 for 182 yards in the Colts ten-possession scrimmage on Saturday.

“I thought he looked really well. He made a lot of nice throws. He did a great job of demanding the attention of the players in the huddle and keeping us up tempo," said receiver Austin Collie of Painter's Saturday performance. "You know, Curtis is a talented athlete and a talented quarterback and each day he is going to improve and get better.”

 

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