The Indianapolis Colts’ decision to pull journeyman quarterback Kerry Collins out of retirement is at best curious and at worst a sign of coming apocalypse for the team.
The fact is, with Peyton Manning nursing a neck injury and questionable for the season opener, no quarterback currently on the market can run the Colts offense. It is a custom-built machine, constructed specifically for Manning.
While simple in its principles, it is mind-bogglingly complex in its execution. It requires a Jeopardy! champion in hip pads – a quarterback who, in 30 seconds, can step to the line, distil the calculus of modern defenses, devise a counterstrategy, and then communicate instructions to the wide receivers, running backs, and offensive linemen.
After that, there’s the simple task of getting rid of the ball quickly before one of the poorer offensive lines in pro football collapses.
Even before the preseason began, it was obvious that incumbent Colts backup Curtis Painter could do the job about as well as Tony Soprano could play the lead in “Swan Lake.”
So in that sense, the move makes sense. Collins is undoubtedly a better quarterback than Painter.
Yet the move also has the appearance of someone on death row changing his last meal from fajitas to chalupas. The end result isn’t going to change.
Neither Painter nor Collins would appear to give the Colts a legitimate chance to win. The high-octane Colts are designed to pass first and play from ahead. Asking them to grind out a win behind a journeyman quarterback is like asking Cirque du Soleil to run a power sweep off left tackle. They’re simply not built to do it.
The thinking had been that the Colts were sticking with Painter because they knew Manning would be back. Now, it appears as though that could be in doubt.
In the interim, perhaps, Collins gives them the best chance to avoid embarrassment. For a city and a team that is hosting the Super Bowl this year, it is a very thin thread of hope.