Why Did The Colts Start Brian Hoyer, And Not Jacoby Brissett, Against Miami?

Why Did The Colts Start Brian Hoyer, And Not Jacoby Brissett, Against Miami?

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Why Did The Colts Start Brian Hoyer, And Not Jacoby Brissett, Against Miami?

For much of the week, the Colts thought Jacoby Brissett would be the starting quarterback on Sunday against the Dolphins. What changed?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Brian Hoyer did not know he was going to start against the Dolphins until Saturday morning, once the Colts had completed all three of their practices for the week.

For nearly the entire week of practice, the Colts thought Jacoby Brissett---who was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday---would be healthy enough to start and play through a sprained MCL.

That’s why the Colts continued to give Brissett the vast majority of starting reps in practice.

But after Reich went back and watched Friday’s final practice tape one more time, he didn’t feel Brissett was at an adequate level to start on Sunday.

“(Brissett) looked pretty good on Thursday and I thought there might be a chance and then when he came out on Friday and did some things,” Reich explained after Sunday’s 16-12 loss as a double-digit favorite. “I was hoping (Brissett) could get to 90, 95 percent and really it felt like he was at about 80 percent and kind of stuck there and it just wasn’t the right move to me. We put a lot of thought into that. We’ve got to protect the players first of all and we know how Jacoby plays, but really it was about protecting him and doing what is best for our team. Could he play effectively at 80 percent? I know he could play because he’s the toughest guys I know, so I don’t doubt whether he would’ve played. He would’ve played if we would’ve let him, but just didn’t think that was the best thing for him or for the team.”

ICYMI: 5 things learned fro m the Colts embarrassing loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.

When the Colts gathered for their walk-through on Saturday, Hoyer was informed he would start.

“Was it ideal?” Reich was asked about Hoyer’s limited practice action with the starters. “No, because Jacoby progressed fairly good early in the week. We thought there was a chance he was going to play, so that did hinder the reps Brian got, especially on Thursday because Jacoby came out and practiced early, felt good and looked good, but it was all from the pocket, (so) it’s not really testing it.

“So that does affect how many reps Brian gets, but that’s your job as a backup quarterback.”

While the limited amount of starting reps in practice didn’t help the situation for Hoyer, his play was nowhere near the level of a $12 million quarterback going up against a defense that ranked dead last in the NFL at 32 points per game.

Hoyer was a woeful 18-of-39 for 204 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. His passer rating of 38.8 was the worst by a Colts quarterback since the 2017 season opener (Scott Tolzien vs. the Rams). Hoyer’s completion percentage of 46.1 was the lowest for a Colts quarterback since December 2014 (Andrew Luck vs. the Browns).

Poor decision making, combined with accuracy issues, led to some chirping for backup Chad Kelly to enter the game (Reich said he never considered such a move).

On the Colts’ final drive of the game, Hoyer bypassed check down options inside the red zone and instead forced the ball unsuccessfully into the end zone. Higher percentage throws in that situation, with 3 timeouts in hand, made more sense.

“Everything was in play there,” Reich said of routes at every level on the final four plays of the game. “We had plenty of time, had timeouts to go. All of those passes that we threw had underneath options, but you read it out and the throws…I’ve got to see the tape to see what was there and what wasn’t there, but we were close on a couple of those. We weren’t rushing for time. We had plenty of time.”

Even though Hoyer looked more than competent in relief last week versus the Steelers, Sunday’s performance explained a bit why he’s now lost 10 straight games as a starter.

As far as looking ahead to next week, with the start of three straight games against the AFC South, it’s back to wait and see for the Colts on Brissett.

“I would be optimistic this week, but still got to do the right thing and just take it day by day and see how he progresses,” Reich said following Sunday’s loss.

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