INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 13: Curtis Painter #7 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Baltimore Ravens announced this week their signing of quarterback Curtis Painter, formally of the Indianapolis Colts. Painter reportedly signed a one-year, $615,000 contract with the Ravens to become the 3rd passer on the depth chart behind incumbent starter Joe Flacco and his 2nd-year back-up Tyrod Taylor.
In an unusual but understandable move, the Ravens have been working out quarterbacks from around the NFL, including: Kyle Boller, Dennis Dixon, and Curtis Painter. Weeding through the backup quarterback market, the Ravens settled on Painter this week and will move into the off-season months that are choc full of training camps and organized team activities with three signal callers to handle the full work-load of frequent team practices.
Certainly, Painter’s roster spot will not be guaranteed when the regular season rolls around as the Ravens have, at times over the past several years, carried only two quarterbacks and have seemed comfortable in doing so.
(After the "Jump", more on what Painter’s signing means for the Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh’s comments on quarterback Tyrod Taylor.)
Though some outside of the city of Baltimore may try to spin all of this as the Ravens looking to find someone to replace Joe Flacco due to his recent out-spoken comments that were not well received throughout the media, the signing of career backup quarterback Curtis Painter (minus his season last year in which he started frequently for Indianapolis during Peyton Manning’s absence due to injury), screams of the Ravens making sure that no-one gets complacent during the off-season, namely 2nd-year back-up passer Tyrod Taylor.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has started in every regular season game since his rookie year four years ago (64 games) and has also started in each of the Ravens’ playoff games over the past four years (9 games). Due to Flacco’s durability, the Ravens may want to make sure that his back-up, Taylor, doesn’t become complacent with his job or roster spot as the #2 quarterback and therefore have brought in outside competition to continue pushing and further developing the young passer.
Despite the signing of Painter, head coach John Harbaugh strongly backed Taylor as the #2 quarterback:
"Tyrod is our No. 2 quarterback; I want to make that very clear. Everybody competes for their job, there’s no doubt about it, we believe in that, we always will, but he’s our No. 2 quarterback. He’s entrenched as our No. 2 quarterback."
Even though Harbaugh admitted that the Ravens would like to have three active quarterbacks on the roster – just in case – the team has played complete seasons with no more than two passers on a full 53-man roster, much like they did last year when Taylor was Flacco’s one and only backup:
"In the end, we would rather have three than two. I think people were concerned about that last year. Joe has been extremely durable, but knock on wood, if something would happen or if something would happen to Tyrod."
Even after Harbaugh’s admission that the Ravens are looking and wanting to have three quarterbacks for the upcoming season, the signing of Painter smells of a move to add a body for training camp and competitive purposes, something Harbaugh even hints at himself:
"We need another quarterback right now for the offseason too. That’s why we did it right now. We have to have the extra arm right now to throw to our guys."
Whether or not Painter makes it through the roster-cuts leading up to the start of the regular season remains to be seen. But, for the time being, he’s here and will provide healthy competition for young quarterback Tyrod Taylor and will also add a fresh arm into the mix.