Long­time backup Hoyer pre­pares for 1st start with Colts

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - AP Sports Writer

By Michael Marot

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS (AP) >> Brian Hoyer bounced around the NFL for more than a decade.

He’s suited up for seven dif­fer­ent fran­chises, made starts with five dif­fer­ent 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-yearold veteran is pre­par­ing to make his 38th ca­reer start on Sun­day, this time for the In­di­anapo­lis Colts, 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. “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.”

Hoyer’s abil­ity to in­ter­pret ter­mi­nol­ogy on the fly is a big rea­son he’s thrived in this role for 11 NFL sea­sons.

Last week­end was a per­fect ex­am­ple of what makes Hoyer so valu­able.

Hoyer was pressed into ser­vice when Ja­coby Bris­sett went down with an in­jured left knee. He’d taken al­most no prac­tice snaps with the Colts’ starters since sign­ing the team in early Septem­ber and had limited knowl­edge of the Colts’ play­book.

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. But the over­all per­for­mance was bet­ter than any­one could have an­tic­i­pated given the cir­cum­stances.

“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.”

Coach Frank Re­ich gave Hoyer rave re­views, too.

Indy (5-3) may need Hoyer to repli­cate that per­for­mance this week­end, too.

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.

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