Colts Power Rankings: 2011, Week 4

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Each week, Coltzilla will scour the net for team rankings from football experts covering the previous week, and discuss them from the fan’s perspective.

Another close game. Another loss. Another two players sent to IR. And the carousel that is the Colts’ roster continues to spin – just like 2010.

Curtis Painter made his first NFL start on Monday night against Tampa Bay and looked… OK. Is this change at the quarterback position enough to justify some optimism going forward? Let’s see what the experts have to say.

Average Ranking: 29.88 (previously 30.25)

CBS Sports – Pete Prisco – 31st (-1): They’re fighting each week, but they are so undermanned – not just at quarterback. The Colts need to play Curtis Painter the rest of the way. – [I'm glad to see Pete recognizes how hard this team is fighting. Anyone who says the Colts have given up and are ready to tank the season is an idiot. OK, maybe just delusional. Nah... idiot.]

ESPN – Kuharsky – 29th (+1): Monday night sure seemed like a perfect chance to win, but the Colts wore down and fell to 0-4. (Kuharsky) – [I'm not sure if 'wore down' is right. Maybe 'broke down'? So many injuries... so many young, inexperienced players.]

Fox Sports – 26th (+3): The Colts have a lot of fight in them, they just aren’t as good as they were in years past. They have too much youth on the field at critical positions. Curtis Painter played pretty well last night, which most likely means that Kerry Collins can go back to retirement. – [Completely agree with 'youth at critical positions'. Castonzo, Ijalana, Rucker, Nevis, Lefeged, Carter... lots of potential, but it takes time. I'll also mention that while I'm not yet convinced Painter is a viable NFL quarterback, I do think he gives the Colts a better chance at winning than Kerry Collins.]

WEEI in Boston – 32nd (no change): The Colts’ unprecedented streak of success will surely come to an end in 2011. Since 2002, Peyton Manning has led his team to 10 or more wins in each season. This year the Colts will be lucky if they win more than three games. – [If there's a silver lining in all of this, it's that people finally realize (or have to admit) how valuable Peyton Manning truly is - to this team and to the league. And by the way, Boston, there's nothing wrong with being lucky. Competition in this league is tight, and it takes some luck to win. Can you say 'tuck rule'?]

Pro Football Talk – 30th (-1): If the front office had the same faith in Curtis Painter that Reggie Wayne has displayed, the team may be better than 0-4. – [Perhaps. And I admit to being one who has questioned the wisdom of carrying a backup quarterback in which you apparently had no confidence. The front office moved very quickly from 'Curtis is our backup' to 'We believe Kerry gives us the best chance to win'. It's hard to say whether starting with Painter would have made any difference in the win column, but it's become pretty obvious the players are pulling for Painter to succeed.]

Sports Illustrated – Don Banks – 32nd (-1): For years Colts players have probably chafed privately at the notion that Peyton Manning was so good he could lead a collection of tackling dummies to the playoffs. But given the chance to disprove that theory and showcase their own abilities, the 2011 Colts aren’t exactly making the strongest of cases. – [I got nothing.]

Walter Football – 30th (+1): Painter played better than his numbers indicate. He was 13-of-30 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He fought hard under constant pressure. Addai led the Colts in rushing with 44 yards on 11 carries. Garcon was the leading receiver with two catches for 146 yards and two scores. Wayne had 59 yards on four receptions. – [Click the link to read their entire recap of the game.]

Yahoo Sports – 29th (+1): It’s still hard to watch this offense operate without Manning and the WR screen isn’t enough to win games. – [Hard to watch? I agree, but probably for a different reason. These players have become an integral part of my life. I root for them. I spend hours engulfed in all things Colts. I celebrate when they celebrate, and I hurt when they hurt. And they're hurting right now. You can see it on their faces and in their body language. This team needs a win, and they need it soon.]