News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 23, 2011

Painter will start for Colts on Sunday

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — One question has already been answered. Several more remain as the Indianapolis Colts (0-10) prepare for Sunday's home game with Carolina (2-8).

Colts coach Jim Caldwell has confirmed that quarterback Curtis Painter will start against the Panthers.

Painter and backup Dan Orlovsky had been waiting for a decision since Indianapolis dropped a 17-3 decision to Jacksonville two weeks ago.

Both Caldwell and team vice chairman Bill Polian continue to have faith in Painter despite a series of sluggish performances in recent games.

Caldwell maintains that the team wants to get a better look at Painter. He added that not all of the negatives associated with the team's offense have been his fault.

"Curtis has not played a whole lot of football around here for us," the Colts coach explained. "I think he's got to be given a good, clear opportunity. There are a lot of things that may have happened to him during the [Jacksonville] game that may not have always been his fault."

But the numbers haven't been good.

The Colts have scored 27 points combined in the last four losses. Indianapolis has been unable to put up more than 24 points in a game this year without Peyton Manning (neck) at the helm of the offense.

Painter has seven interceptions, lost three fumbles and completed just 54.7 percent of his passes this season.

Orlovsky, meanwhile, has substituted for Painter in each of the last two games (losses to Atlanta and Jacksonville).

Both quarterbacks are 0-7 as NFL starters. Orlovsky made his starts with the 0-16 Detroit Lions of 2008.

"I just think that some of it is the situation that we've put [Painter] in as well. I need to do a little bit better job of making certain that he can do what he does and not necessarily what anyone else has done around here, tailor [the offense] a little bit more to his strengths," Caldwell said.

"I just felt like we haven't given him a clear opportunity to do that yet. And so we're going to give him that chance."

Despite fans clamoring for a change at the quarterback position, the Colts coach remains steadfast in his support for the former Purdue signal caller.

“Well, I think he’s developing. One of the things that I don’t think there’s any question about in this league, you very rarely see a young quarterback, which he is, really flourish. It’s rare that they really flourish in a system that’s predominantly passing. Most of the young guys that you see that are making progress in this league are [in an offense that is] able to couple his abilities with a real strong running game," Caldwell explained. 

"That’s what I think is certainly a quarterback’s best friend. Until we get to the point where we probably run the ball a little more, I just don’t think we’ve necessarily given him an opportunity to be at his best."

Honoring Marvin Sunday — Former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison will be inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday's game with Carolina.

Harrison joins Jim Harbaugh, Bill Brooks, Robert Irsay Sr., Chris Hinton, Ted Marchibroda, Tony Dungy and the 12th Man in the Ring of Honor. 

Roster moves — The Colts claimed defensive end Mario Addison off waivers from Chicago Tuesday evening.

Indianapolis has also come to an agreement with wide receiver Jarred Fayson to sign to the practice squad and waived undrafted rookie running back Darren Evans from the active roster.

Fayson was initially signed by New Orleans as an undrafted free agent. Evans, meanwhile, may be re-signed to the Colts' practice squad.

Indianapolis did not put a waiver claim on former Denver and Chicago quarterback Kyle Orton Wednesday. Orton, who played at Purdue, was released by the Broncos on Tuesday and was awarded to Kansas City Wednesday afternoon.

Injury report — Sitting out Wednesday's practice were QB Peyton Manning (neck), TE Dallas Clark (fibula), DE Dwight Freeney (rest), DT Drake Nevis (back), and OG Joe Reitz (knee). Clark is not expected to be available for the Carolina game.

TE Brody Eldridge (hand), and WR Anthony Gonzalez (groin) both saw limited work. RB Joseph Addai (hamstring), S Stevie Brown (hamstring) and CB Terrence Johnson (ankle) fully participated in the workout.