Stats from ESPN.com
Curtis Painter finished his career at Purdue as the best quarterback in the school's history statistically, which is impressive considering NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton both played for the Boilermakers. He finished his collegiate career with 11,195 passing yards, 67 touchdowns, 46 interceptions, and an impressive 59.9% completion percentage. His sophomore and junior years were the highlights of his collegiate career. Had Painter entered the 2008 NFL Draft he would have been considered one of the top prospects available, and would have likely gone in the first round. A shoulder injury slowed him down in his senior season, and the loss of players like Dustin Keller and Dorian Bryant, his two biggest targets as a junior, helped culminate into a disappointing senior effort. The biggest knock on Painter is that he failed to come through too often against his best opponents and was inconsistent in high pressure situations.
After sitting behind Jim Sorgi on the roster in his rookie season, third on the Colts quarterback depth chart, Painter had his opportunity to play in the final two games of the 2009 season (Sorgi had been placed on the injured reserve). Against the Jets Painter struggled, throwing 11 passes but connecting on only four for 44 yards, including one interception and a fumble that was returned one yard for a Jets touchdown. Although the Colts had a small 15-10 lead early in the third quarter, after Painter entered the game the Colts failed to score again and the Jets went on to win 29-15. Against the Bills a week later Painter struggled again, passing for only 39 yards, connecting on four of 17 passes in the Buffalo snow, including another interception and fumble.
Despite his rookie struggles, he was certainly thrown to the wolves against the Jets, with the task of maintaining a shallow lead over a team that would meet the Colts again for the AFC Championship game, trying to keep the team undefeated in his first regular season NFL action. Bill Polian has indicated that he will be the primary back-up for Manning in 2010, and Painter has suggested that he feels more comfortable after getting some experience under his belt. It will be interesting to see how his performance changes now that he has had a chance to learn the Colts offense and has played against NFL-caliber competition.
One thing is certain, he is a lot different than Sorgi. At 6-foot 4-inches tall he is a closer to a prototypical NFL quarterback size, and he has an arm capable of making some sharp short to mid-range passes, and strong enough to get the ball down the field if he needs to as well. If he can translate his physical abilities into NFL-level talent and can remain consistent with his normally impressive accuracy, he could develop into a back-up Colts fans are happy to have around.