In what may seem like a puzzling move, the Ravens just signed Curtis Painter to a 1-year contract as a backup QB on a roster where Tyrod Taylor is already and clearly the QB#2 behind Joe Flacco. Or is he...?
Curtis Painter...6-4, 230, 4th year out of Purdue, drafted in 2009 by the Colts in the 6th round...signed for approx. $600,000 with a $90,000 guarantee..over his career with the Colts he completed 140 of 271 passes for 1624 yards with 6 TD's and 11 INT's...
On the surface it looks like a backup to a backup plan...Painter and his arm as training camp fodder....with no one expecting the Ravens to carry a third QB on the active roster...and if Flacco goes down, Painter will know the system and will probably be sitting on his couch waiting for the call to back up Tyrod Taylor. He will hold a clip board on the sidelines until Flacco gets better and then he will go back to his couch. Fortunately for Painter, every contract carries some financial incentive. I am sure he was guaranteed $90,000 or so... not a bad payday for throwing some training camp passes and sitting on your couch waiting.
But below the surface picture: a deeper understanding, maybe an implication of something bigger happening, especially with Painter's former coach Jim Caldwell now the QB coach for the Ravens...
Caldwell tabbed Painter as his starting quarterback when Peyton Manning was injured last year. In nine games and eight starts, the third-year quarterback completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 1,541 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. He had a rating of 66.6. Painter didn’t win a game as a starter, and was replaced in Week 13 by Dan Orlovsky.
He’s a tall, strong-armed quarterback who brings upside. He has backup experience behind Manning and under Caldwell, and starting capability. Painter will be behind Ravens starter Joe Flacco, and will push second-year quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Baltimore’s front office and Head Coach John Harbaugh have expressed their confidence in Taylor as the No. 2, but always welcome competition. Part of Painter’s role will be to pick up offseason practice throwing duties. Last year, Baltimore had Hunter Cantwell as their third quarterback through the summer before putting him on the practice squad. Painter will play for a spot on the active roster. The Ravens have carried just two quarterbacks the past two seasons, but could look to change that this year.
What makes this interesting is Painter actually auditioned for this backup job along with Kyle Boller and Dennis Dixon. The Ravens decided on Painter.
My take: Dennis Dixon is the best QB of all of the above except for Flacco.
Dixon showed more winning potential in his emergency start against the Ravens than Painter did all last year. But Dixon wants to start...and that is not going to happen in Baltimore during the Flacco regime.
So when Dixon dropped out of the negotiations, that left Painter... and Boller (as much as I liked him and admired his courage in his old Raven days) was not going to be a factor in Baltimore at all. I'm sure it was a courtesy invitation. Boller will catch on somewhere else...maybe.
SO yes, Painter is the ultimate camp-body QB, the extra arm and brain necessary to handle all the extra throwing drills in mini-camps and reps in training camps coming up. And remember, Joe Flacco will be absent from camp for a few days this summer for the birth of his and his wife's first child.
A guy like Painter will be needed...and it helps he knows Caldwell and Caldwell knows him.
But also consider: The Ravens can bring in some new things on offense if they have a game-ready 3rd QB in the wings. If nothing else, Painter is game-ready. There are things the Ravens can do with Tyrod Taylor in actual games which require a 3rd QB in the wings. It's an optimum time to get Tyrod in the offense once in a while. His "younger Michael Vick"-type talent begs to get woven into the Ravens offense at times to keep defenses more honest.
Think back to the San Diego debacle last season. What a perfect opportunity to change the game up with a Tyrod play or three... Now at least with Painter in the wings (and a season of actual NFL combat under his belt), you can feel a little more comfortable about throwing Tyrod Taylor into the game plan once in a while. It makes sense to me, and I think it's being considered as an optional way to go by Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell right now.