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Slingin' Curtis Painter And Why The Falcons Must Be Wary

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Obviously, this is going to come up again tomorrow in some form or another. There's a fairly short list of alarming facets of the 2011 Indianapolis Colts, so I could hardly do my questions without it.

I do think it's worth focusing on the unique dangers posed by a desperate team, one with offensive weapons that's becoming all too familiar with playing from behind. The Colts have shown a propensity for the pass in recent weeks, a willingness to just say the hell with it and air it out to Pierre Garcon and anyone else within range of Curtis Painter's arm. It's an inelegant

Let's be blunt: These Colts are not a good football team. Peyton Manning is the rare player who can put an entire team on his back, and he long has done so. But these Colts are also in transition on defense and look pretty pedestrian on offense without Manning under center. They've compensated for that, in essence, by throwing like crazy since Painter took over the job.

In his six weeks as a starter, Painter has thrown at least 30 passes three times, and 27 another. In those four games, he's managed five touchdowns and three interceptions. His completion percentage and yards per attempt are brutally bad, but again, there's a handful of nice plays a game.

So yeah. Has Curtis Painter been, at times, like a poorly drawn childrens' picture of a quarterback? Yes. But a guy who throws almost 50 passes in a game is bound to do damage, and the Falcons are still more than capable of giving up big plays despite a rapidly improving defense. It's not like Reggie Wayne and Garcon are slouches, either. The Colts' best chance to beat the Falcons is to clamp down as hard as possible on defense and sling, and they have to be aware of that.

So the best move for the Falcons would be to take away the pass, because Delone Carter and Donald Brown are about as frightening as a plush Cerberus on the ground. The Colts have been pretty good at protecting Painter thus far, so it's incumbent on the front seven to generate a nice little pass rush to help him make the mistakes we know he's capable of making. Shut down the pass and you've got yourself a game the Falcons should win easily.

Does this concern you, or am I making a mountain out of a Colthill?