Jacoby Brissett returns as Colts QB if he is full-go at Wednesday practice
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There won’t be a repeat of the quarterback-related uncertainty that pestered the Indianapolis Colts in the days leading up to their Sunday loss to Miami.
If Jacoby Brissett is a full-go when practice resumes Wednesday, he’ll be the starter for what now shapes up as a pivotal meeting with Jacksonville in Lucas Oil Stadium.
“If Jacoby is healthy, he’s our starting quarterback and obviously he’ll go,’’ Frank Reich said Monday. “We’re optimistic that the rest was helpful. We’ll get to Wednesday, see how he’s doing, but we’re encouraged and optimistic. He’ll get as many reps as he can.
“I’m not going to try to make any secret about it, I’m really not. If he’s practicing Wednesday and taking the full practice, at that point we’ll say, ‘We’re ready to go. He’s our starter and we’ll go full bore.’’’
Brissett sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the second quarter of the 26-24 loss at Pittsburgh. Even so, he took the vast majority of the reps with the No. 1 offense in the three practices prior to Sunday’s 16-12 loss to the Dolphins.
When Reich determined Brissett was operating at approximately 80% efficiency, he informed backup Brian Hoyer Saturday morning he would start against Miami.
Reich conceded the situation – a lack of serious work with the starting offense – wasn’t ideal, adding, “That’s the role of a backup quarterback.’’
With Brissett looking on, the Hoyer-led offense largely was ineffective. It generated just 300 total yards on 69 plays, averaging a season-low 4.3 yards per play.
Hoyer suffered three interceptions – one wasn’t his fault; Eric Ebron had the football ripped from his grasp in the end zone – and never settled into a comfort zone. He completed just 18-of-39 passes. His 46.2 completion percent was the worst by a Colts’ starting QB since Andrew Luck went 24-of-53 (45.3 percent) at Cleveland in week 14 of 2014.
“I thought overall in the passing game obviously we could have been a lot better,’’ Reich said. “It wasn’t any one person or any one thing. It usually never is in a loss like this.
“There’s a lot of plays left out there on the field. We all have to share in the responsibility, coaches and players. At the end of the day, we all together have to find enough ways to make enough plays to win a game like that. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but you’ve got to find ways to get it done.’’
The Colts had a chance to pull out the victory in the end. They reached the Miami 16-yard line with 59 seconds remaining, but Hoyer suffered three incompletions before hooking up with Ebron for an 8-yard gain on fourth-and-10.
Reich was in no position to discuss the status of placekicker Adam Vinatieri. Although he and general manager Chris Ballard had reviewed video from the game several times, they had yet to have their personnel meeting when Reich had his weekly 4 p.m. conference call with the local media.
Vinatieri’s inconsistencies continued against Miami. He pulled a PAT wide left, his league-high sixth missed PAT. He’s also missed five field-goal attempts. Had Vinatieri converted the PAT, the offense could have settled for a game-tying field goal at the end rather than needed a touchdown.
“It’s all being evaluated every week, specifically this week,’’ Reich said. “Our normal routine is about a half-hour after this phone call here . . . he and I sit down to talk about the roster. He and I have not had that conversation, any conversation like that at this point.’’
The math is undeniable. The Colts have been involved in nine games decided by 7 points or fewer to open the season – the NFL’s second-longest streak since 1940 – and have outscored the opposition by 1 point (194-193). Vinatieri’s misses have resulted in 21 lost points.
Funchess & Hilton updates
Wideout Devin Funchess is expected to return to the practice field for the first time since suffering a broken left clavicle in the Sept. 8 season-opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. He’s been on the injured reserve list, but has been eligible to return for a few weeks.
“It’s looking like he’s going to get out there this week, and technically, he could be cleared to play,’’ Reich said. “But he’s got a few more boxes to check. We’ve got to make sure that he’s good to go because this will really be his first week of practice. We still have to see how much he’s going to be able to do on Wednesday.’’
The status of T.Y. Hilton appears unchanged. He’s missed the last two games with a calf injury.
“We’re just going to have to take it on a day-by-day (basis),’’ Reich said.
The Colts are 0-7 when Hilton has been out with an injury.
The Colts signed wideout Deon Cain and defensive tackle Kyle Peko to the practice squad and lost offensive tackle Jackson Barton, who was signed off the practice squad by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cain was waived Saturday in something of a surprise move. The team has been disappointed by the recent development of the 2018 sixth-round draft pick, but still believes believes he has the potential to be a viable player at the position.
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