The Sorgi Situation: Part Two

Ever since Jim Sorgi joined the Colts in 2004 and cemented himself as Peyton Manning's backup, Colts fans have been looking for something better. Is there a better option out there? Part Two takes a look at who else is out there.

In Part One, we decided that the best option other than Jim Sorgi was a more athletically gifted quarterback that would be able to assimilate the offensive system that the Colts deploy.  Does such a player exist?  Here are the best options.

Painter is probably the most likely candidate to replace Sorgi
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Curtis Painter:

Pros: He has a stronger arm than Sorgi.  He can make all the throws and was successful in his junior season at Purdue before a disappointing senior season had a severely negative effect on his draft stock.  At 6-feet-3 and 222 pounds, he looks the part more than Sorgi does, since he appears to have the necessary bulk to survive a season.

Cons: As a rookie, it will be a tall order for him to understand the offensive system to the degree that Sorgi understands it.  Purdue ran more of a college-style system than a pro-style system, so Painter will be fighting against that in addition to trying to get acclimated to the speed of the pro game.

Chris Crane:

Pros: At 6-feet-4 and 239 pounds, Crane certainly looks like a quarterback when he's standing in the pocket.  He has a stronger arm than Sorgi and can make most of the throws, but does not have the tools that Painter has.  Boston College runs more of a pro-style offense, though, so his adjustment will not be as severe.

Cons: As an undrafted rookie with fewer tools than Painter, he faces an even tougher battle to unseat Sorgi.  He will require less of an adjustment system-wise than will Painter, but it will still be a very difficult transition.

Jared Lorenzen:

Pros: The "Hefty Lefty" has more than enough bulk to survive the rigors and punishment of an NFL season.  He has a much bigger arm than Sorgi.  Having spent last offseason learning the system, he is comfortable with it and has a leg up on the two rookies vying for a roster spot.

He can do more with his legs in terms of running for first downs and improvising to keep the play alive than Sorgi can.

Cons: The ship may have sailed for Lorenzen.  A career backup, he didn't find his way onto an NFL roster after the Colts cut him last September and he was picked up by the Kentucky Horsemen of af2.  If the Colts did not see a need for him after Peyton Manning's health was confirmed prior to the 2008 season, they probably won't see a need for him this offseason.

Gray led the Colts in passing in the 2008 preseason
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Quinn Gray:

Pros: Knows the system, having spent last offseason on the Colts roster.  Has more experience than either rookie and has started games for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He has a stronger arm than Sorgi, though his mechanics are suspect.

He can do more with his legs in terms of running for first downs and improvising to keep the play alive than Sorgi can.

Cons: Though he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2008 season, he did not see any playing time.  He recently tried out for the UFL — per Senior NFL Reporter Adam Caplan — and was not signed.  If the UFL doesn't want him, what place does he have in the NFL, even as a backup?

J.P. Losman:

Pros: According to Caplan's Best Available Free Agents, Losman is a "Mistake-prone, but talented signal caller. Should find a home by early August."  Losman has more than enough arm strength, his mechanics are sound, and, since his former team had their fair share of offensive coordinators, is adept at learning a new system.

Losman has the ability to make plays with his feet, considerably more recent starting experience than anyone else on this list, and the arm to push the ball down the field.  He is a former first-round selection and has talent to spare.  He fits the mold of a quarterback with more arm strength, better measurables, more experience, and more overall talent than Sorgi.

Cons: He may still want to start.  As talented as he is, he will never unseat Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and he knows it.  He has been unsuccessful and inconsistent as a starter and proved to be a willing, but petulant back-up in Buffalo.  Will he succeed with the Colts?  Will he be willing to accept a backup role?

Gus Ferrotte:


Established backup with a history of good relations.  Knows his place.  Had success when pressed into a starting role.  Tons of experience and will be able to learn a new system.

Cons: Age.  Arm strength.  Mechanics.  If Indianapolis signs him, they are thinking about short-term options, not the future.

At the End of the Day: The best option appears to be Losman.  He was recently drafted into the UFL, but could easily break that contract for an opportunity to play in the NFL.  He has more ability and upside than Sorgi, but was also unsuccessful and unable to retain his job in Buffalo.

It could be that he has not found the right supporting cast, but the fact remains that the offense would be markedly different with Losman — or anyone but Manning — under center.

If, as Caplan contends, he finds a job in the NFL by August and that job is with Indianapolis, he will have his chance to learn the system and unseat Sorgi.  However, after an offseason marred by transition — at least as far as the Colts are concerned — Losman would face a daunting challenge to unseat Sorgi.

It is worth pointing out that head coach Jim Caldwell and Sorgi have a history together, since Caldwell was Sorgi's position coach for five seasons, so it is not as though Losman would enter into a new regime with all new coaches where all jobs are up for grabs.  Caldwell still has ties to Sorgi, still must see promise in him, and will afford Sorgi the benefit of the doubt in all situations.

But, if Losman is acquired and shows signs of promise, it is not out of the question for him to make to roster.  He just has a long, uphill battle in front of him, and he may choose a different NFL precinct; one with fewer obstacles and a better chance at winning the starting job.

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