What do Steve Walsh, Kelly Holcomb, Doug Nussmeier, Billy Joe Hobert, Mark Rypien, Roderick Robinson, Brock Huard, Cory Sauter, Jim Sorgi, Travis Brown, Drew Willy and Curtis Painter have in common?
Or how about Jim Kubiak, Bill Musgrave, Mike Quinn, Pete Gonzalez, Mark Hartsell, Gus Ornstein, Dave Meyer, Greg Zolman, Tom Arth, James McPherson, David Koral, Mike McGann, John Navarre, Adam Tafralis, David Greene, Chris Crane, Shane Boyd, Joe Hamilton, Jared Lauritzen, Tom Brandstater, Tim Hiller, Quinn Gray, Josh Betts, Shaun King, Jim Druckenmiller, Stoney Case, Dan Orlovsky, Mike Hartline and Nate Davis?
The first group consists of quarterbacks who have actually been on the Indianapolis Colts’ regular season roster and served as backups to starter Peyton Manning. And the second is a list of those quarterbacks who have been with the team during summer minicamps and in training camp during Manning’s 14 years in the National Football League.
In total, that’s 41 players who have carried the clipboard and watched from the sidelines as Manning has led the Colts to a 138-44 regular season record, eight divisional titles, 11 playoff appearances, three AFC title games, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl championship.
As evidenced by the names mentioned, getting a quality backup at the quarterback position — at least someone that the team’s diehard fans consider to be in that category — isn’t quite as easy as one might think.
Here’s one of the issues. Proven veteran NFL quarterbacks don’t want to come to Indianapolis because Manning, when he’s healthy, will get 95 percent of the practice time in the preseason and 99.9 percent of the playing time in the regular season.
Over the years, the Colts have certainly discussed the possibility of having a more experienced quarterback sitting behind the four-time league Most Valuable Player. Some, such as former number one draft pick Tim Couch, have come in and worked out for the team.
Rypien has been the only former starting NFL quarterback to sign with the team since Manning’s arrival. That was in 2001 and he only lasted part of one season. Walsh, Holcomb and Sauter have been the only former backups to move on and start for other NFL teams.
In recent years, the Colts have felt more comfortable with drafting their own backups — Sorgi and Painter — and then training them in the team’s offensive system.
Another issue is how Manning runs the Indianapolis offense. Under former coordinator Tom Moore and now under current coordinator Clyde Christensen, he has been allowed to have complete control. Moore and Christensen will send in a group of plays and then allow Manning to make the decision either in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage.
Backup quarterbacks, however, don’t receive enough work in practice to have the same freedom or grasp of the entire offense. Consequently, when given a chance to play — such as in a preseason game or in a late-season appearance — there are issues with continuity.
• Developing the backups — Painter, Orlovsky and Hartline are the three remaining quarterbacks on the Colts’ training camp roster behind Manning, who remains on the team’s physically unable to perform list.
The current plans call for Painter, who started against the Rams last Saturday night and worked two offensive series, to get more work Friday evening against Washington. Orlovsky got most of the playing time against St. Louis.
Despite adverse fan reaction to both signal caller’s performances in the preseason opener last week, Coach Jim Caldwell is committed to staying the course.
“Those guys have practiced extremely well, coming along and are doing a nice job. I don’t expect them to be Peyton Manning on the first night out,” Caldwell stressed earlier in the week.
“What they have to do is develop their own comfort level where they’re efficient and where they don’t turn the ball over. Both of them had pretty decent drives during the course of the [St. Louis] game. But, nonetheless, it wasn’t consistent enough. We are going to be patient, work, develop and keep working with them. I think in both cases they are making really good progress.”
• Roster moves — The Colts brought in yet another former defensive first-round draft pick Tuesday with the addition of former Oakland and Carolina defensive end Tyler Brayton.
The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Brayton was originally the Raiders’ top pick in the 2003 NFL draft. He played in Oakland from 2003-2007 and Carolina from 2008-2010.
Brayton has accumulated 283 career tackles (228 solo), 15.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, one interception and 16 passes broken up during his nine-year NFL career. He joins three other former first-round picks recently signed by the Colts -- linebacker Ernie Sims, defensive end Jamaal Anderson and defensive tackle Tommie Harris.
Indianapolis also released defensive tackle DeMario Pressley. Pressley had signed with the Colts in February after spending the 2010 season with the Houston Texans.
• Five more years — The Colts and Anderson University have agreed on a five-year agreement that will keep training camp at the school until 2016.
“We are very pleased that a commitment is in place for Colts camp at Anderson University in future years.” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University.
“The training camp offers an exciting experience that brings thousands of fans close up to these great players and coaches. A remarkable part of the story is the strong support we continue to receive from our community to improve our facilities and to make it possible for our students and programs to benefit from our commitments to the Colts.”
Vice-chairman Chris Polian was pleased with the agreement.
“The Indianapolis Colts organization is excited about agreeing to a commitment with Anderson University that extends its training camp commitment,” Polian said.
“With this extension, the University has agreed to continue to upgrade its facilities so we can prepare for the rigorous NFL season. The city of Anderson allows us to train in close proximity to our home base so fans from Indianapolis and surrounding areas can enjoy seeing the team prepare.”