INDIANAPOLIS — Brian Hoyer bounced around the NFL for more than a decade.
He’s suited up for seven franchises, made starts with five teams and mastered the art of excelling as a longtime backup quarterback.
The job requires picking up new offenses quickly — sometimes even without practice. Now the 34-year-old veteran is preparing to make his 38th career start on Sunday, this time for the Indianapolis Colts (5-3), he’s putting all those lessons to work one more time.
“For me it’s like anything, you always take one offense you know and you revert to that,” Hoyer said Wednesday, fully aware he may still be coming off the bench against the Miami Dolphins (1-7). “You say ‘this play here, we call it a different word but it’s the same play.’ It’s kind of like learning a language, like Italian and Spanish are pretty similar so you can sort of figure it out.”
Jacoby Brissett was limited in practice Wednesday with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, giving Hoyer his first significant practice snaps. No decision has yet been made about whether to start Brissett or Hoyer, who was released by New England at the end of the preseason.
Hoyer was pressed into service last week when Brissett went down with an injured left knee. Hoyer’s first pass went for an 11-yard touchdown to Jack Doyle. And though Hoyer later threw an interception that was returned 96 yards for a score, he also moved the Colts into position for the go-ahead field goal with 1:14 left at Pittsburgh only to watch Adam Vinatieri shank the 43-yarder wide left.
The final numbers were solid: 17 of 26, 168 yards, three touchdowns and one interception with a rating of 105.9.
“It was awesome to see him play. Some of the things that he did — like I said Sunday — I knew I wouldn’t have done, but he made a lot of great throws,” Brissett said. “He did a good job of taking command. So yeah, I thought he did pretty well.”
Chiefs, Falcons play waiting game
The Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) will continue to split first-team reps in practice between Patrick Mahomes and backup Matt Moore this week, leaving open the possibility the league’s MVP could be back for Sunday’s game at Tennessee (4-5).
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Mahomes has been out since dislocating his kneecap in a game against Denver on Oct. 17. He has yet to miss a practice but was ruled out for the Chiefs’ game against Green Bay, then was questionable last week against Minnesota before he was declared inactive on game day.
“It’s going to be day to day,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He didn’t take a ton of reps last week. We’ll try to increase him a little bit and see how it works out. And we’ll keep you abreast as it goes, but right now that’s where we’re at.”
- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and it is uncertain if he will start at New Orleans.
A sprained right ankle forced Ryan to miss his first game since 2009, snapping a streak of 163 consecutive starts, when Atlanta lost to Seattle two weeks ago.
“I’m feeling a little bit better every day,” Ryan said. “When you have something like this, you just try and focus on daily improvement and trying to get back to yourself as fast as possible.”
Coming off a bye week, the Falcons (1-7) returned to practice as they prepare to face the Saints (7-1) on Sunday.
No clearance for Cooks
Rams receiver Brandin Cooks won’t play Sunday when Los Angeles (5-3) faces Pittsburgh (4-4) while he seeks further medical help for his second concussion in a month.
Cooks was ruled out by Rams coach Sean McVay in the wake of at least his fifth concussion during his six-year NFL career.
Cooks was hurt Oct. 27 during the Rams’ win over Cincinnati in London, and he has not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Around the league
Police in the Dallas suburb of Frisco said Cowboys defensive lineman Daniel Ross, who is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, has been arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and unlawful carrying of a weapon. ... Minnesota claimed former Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo off waivers from Philadelphia. ... Evan Engram, the New York Giants’ leading receiver, has a sprained left foot, and his status for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets is uncertain, the team said. ... Cleveland Browns starting safety Damarious Randall (hamstring) has returned to practice after missing two games. ... Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley’s comeback from a 2018 ACL injury will wait until next season, the team decided. ... The Arizona Cardinals activated offensive lineman Max Garcia from the physically unable to perform list and placed defensive lineman Clinton McDonald on injured reserve. It also released linebacker Zach Brown.