"Jim Sorgi had a great rookie year in Indianapolis," Arth told ColtPower. "And then you've got Travis Brown who is very intelligent and a very good football player. I'm just going to do the best that I can and not worry about what the other guys are doing -- because that's not in my control."
One advantage Arth believes he has heading into this camp is that he's been
working for the Colts organization for the past two years -- even though he's
never made the final 53-man roster. He was injured in 2003 and in 2004 he made
it to September 4th before being waived in the final roster cuts. But in
both situations, Arth ended up working for the Colts.
"I pretty much did whatever I could to help," he said. "Peyton would have me watch a lot of film for him. I think he liked what I did and it helped his preparation every week. And that played a part in the Colts asking me to stay -- and in helping them win."
The Colts' interest in Arth has been consistent dating back to his college days. During his senior year at John Carroll University, he was injured and many of the NFL Scouts stopped showing interest. But not the Colts. They stayed in touch and were the only team who came through with a contract offer for his services. And based on how they continued to find a role for him these past two seasons, he obviously has talent and an intelligence about the game that they respect.
"That's a great feeling knowing that you have people around you that like you and respect you enough to keep you around," said Arth. "Because anyone that Mr. Polian or Coach Dungy doesn't want there, I don't think is going to be there. So I'm thankful for the experiences that they've allowed me to have. It's a great feeling going into training camp knowing that you're going to play somewhere that you're wanted."
The young Colts quarterback is fully aware of the leap he is trying to make from Division III football to playing quarterback in the NFL. And although he is confident in his abilities, he knows it can't happen overnight. He's been able to be patient thanks to the support from the Colts organization and his family.
"I have great support from everyone in my family," he said. "Without them I wouldn't be here -- and wouldn't have this opportunity, so I'm really thankful for them."
Arth's goal for this year is to survive that final round of roster cuts and be on the sidelines with Peyton -- not just watching film for him at Colts headquarters. And while realizes that playing behind Manning doesn't usually translate into much regular-season game experience, it puts him another step closer.
"It's not the best place to be if you're looking to get out there and play right away," said Arth. "But in terms of a young guy like myself, I don't think there's a better place in the league that you could be."
"You can learn so much from Peyton -- how he prepares for games each week, the way he watches film, even the way he works out during the offseason," he said. "He works as hard as anybody, and I don't think people realize that. He's the best quarterback in the NFL and he still works really hard at it."
Arth also credits the Colts coaching staff for preparing him for a successful career.
"We have great coaches," he said. "Our offensive coordinator, our offensive line coach are both very, very knowledgeable. It's really great to be able to learn from them."
Barring a last-minute signing, the Colts will enter the 2005 season with a trio of backups at the quarterback position who have combined for just 8 game appearances (Sorgi and Brown each have 4), none of whom have ever started in a regular-season NFL game. But Arth believes that fits the Colts philosophy towards their quarterback situation right now.
" I think the Colts just want to develop some younger guys and help them become that solid backup who can then get an opportunity to move up and play -- whether it's in Indianapolis or with another team," he said. "Jim's a great football player, a smart kid, and I think they would really like to develop him."
And it's obvious from the investment they've already made in Tom Arth, they want to develop him as well. So make sure you are paying attention during the preseason when Tom Arth once again steps out of the film room and onto the football field. This could be the year he moves closer to achieving his dream.
"I'm a very athletic quarterback, able to move around well and avoid rushers and make throws," he said. "I think I have all the physical tools. It's just that I need an opportunity to play and really show what I can do."