Jacoby Brissett out for Sunday, Colts turn to backup QB Brian Hoyer

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 03: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett #7 warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 3, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An otherwise quiet Saturday was rocked by the Indianapolis Colts.

Jacoby Brissett is out. Brian Hoyer is in. Chad Kelly is up.

That’s the quick summary as the Colts made final preparations for their Sunday meeting with the Miami Dolphins in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Brissett was ruled out after being limited in practice all week after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in last Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh. Hoyer replaced Brissett in the second quarter and passed for 168 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

The decision to sit Brissett means Hoyer will make his 38th career start, but first since week 6 of the 2017 season when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. Kelly was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad and is the backup QB until Brissett returns.

The Colts also waived wideout Deon Cain and added wideout Marcus Johnson to the active roster from the practice squad. Defensive tackle Kyle Peko was waived to make room for Kelly.

The quarterback shuffle demanded the bulk of the attention.

It appeared Brissett was on track to remain the starting QB even though he was limited in each of the three practices this week.

Frank Reich admitted on Friday he was encouraged by Brissett’s progress during the week, but quickly added, “I don’t think there’s any way he’s 100 percent by Sunday.

“I think he’s looked OK during the week of practice and feel confident in some things that he’s done. But we need to take every day and every minute for him to get back and see if we can get comfortable. At the end of the day, we’ve got to make the right decision. We’ve got to make the right decision for him and for the team.’’

Hoyer took a portion of the reps in practice, although Reich was unable to share how much work Hoyer got with the No. 1 unit.

“We’ve gotten him some extra work after practice and certainly he’s a pro,’’ he said. “He’s getting ready in case he’s the starter.’’

The Colts signed Hoyer, 34, to a three-year, $12 million contract Sept. 2 for this express purpose.

“I knew Brian before getting here,’’ Reich said shortly after the Colts added Hoyer to the roster. “When I was coaching in Arizona, he was there for a few games, so I got to know him a little bit there.

“We got him in the building (in Indy) and I think it was probably one minute into the discussion I was thinking to myself, ‘May, this was the right move.’ I mean this guy, he is a seasoned vet now. This guy is super, super smart. He represents what we are all about.’’

Hoyer has appeared in 66 games and will be making a start for a seventh team. He’s 16-21 in a starter’s role. For those keeping track, Hoyer has lost his last nine starts. His last win as a starter: week 4 of 2016, a 17-14 decision over Detroit as the Chicago Bears’ QB.

In his 37 career starts, Hoyer has completed 738-of-1,256 passes (58.8 percent) for 8,706 yards with 42 touchdowns, 26 interceptions and an 82.5 passer rating.

“If I do play, this is the first time I’m starting since 2017.’’ Hoyer said this week. “This is the most important game for me right now.’’

While Saturday’s focus is on the quarterback situation, the waiving of Cain can’t be casually dismissed.

The 2018 sixth-round draft pick missed his rookie season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason opener at Seattle and had a solid offseason and training camp.

However, Cain has struggled mightily this season. In seven games, he’s had just four catches for 52 yards despite seeing extensive playing time as injuries sidelined T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

And be sure to catch the Colts Blue Zone Podcast:

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