INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Jacoby Brissett cleared the next hurdle in his attempt at returning as the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback: he was a full participant in Wednesday afternoon’s practice.
All that remains is for him to avoid a setback in the days leading up to Sunday’s critical AFC South meeting with Jacksonville in Lucas Oil Stadium.
“As long as he practices full today and gets through today the way we expect, he’ll be starting in the game,’’ Frank Reich said prior to Wednesday’s practice.
“I’m assuming it’s all going to be good, and we’re going to get to the end of practice and, ‘Hey, were you good?’ ‘Yeah, we’re good.’
“Then, OK, we’ll check that box, and barring any setback the rest of the week, he’ll the starter.’’
Brissett missed Sunday’s 16-12 loss to Miami after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee the previous week at Pittsburgh. He practiced on a limited basis in the three workouts leading up to the Steelers game, but Reich determined Brissett was only at about 80% efficiency and put the offense in the hands of backup Brian Hoyer.
Brissett said Tuesday he wanted to play against Miami but was overruled by his coach.
“That was a different set of circumstances,’’ Reich said of his QB’s eagerness to play last Sunday. “I know his knee feels a lot better today than it did five days ago.’’
Hoyer struggled in his first start as a Colt. He passed for 204 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and a 38.8 passer rating. The offense finished with just 300 total yards, the fewest since a 288-yard outing in a week 2 win at Tennessee.
“Jacoby’s a difference-maker,’’ left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “Having him there would be great.’’
“It’s huge,’’ center Ryan Kelly added. “I mean, Hoyer did a great job stepping in on such short notice last week and giving us time to make the calls. Working with him has been great.
“But Jacoby is our quarterback. Obviously, just an incredible competitor. Love to have him back.’’
Brissett started twice against the Jaguars in 2017 when Andrew Luck was out with his shoulder issues. Jacksonville dominated both games – 27-0 in Indy, 30-10 in Florida, piling up 14 sacks in the two blowouts – but Jaguars coach Doug Marrone came away impressed with Brissett.
“Really had a ton of respect for him, what he could do and his leadership,’’ he said. “Then all of a sudden you just watch the growth. He’s had such great growth and has become such a really good NFL starting quarterback.
“The consistency is good, he can put the ball on the money and he has enough movement where he can extend plays. You’ve seen that. That’s on tape. I think everyone rallies around him. I think he does a great job; great leadership. It makes sense why Indy held onto him because he’s such a good quarterback, and he’s a starter in this league.’’
Still no T.Y.
T.Y. Hilton did not practice Wednesday, and Reich was non-committal on whether his Pro Bowl wideout might practice later in the week. Hilton has missed the last two games with a calf injury.
He was asked if Hilton’s return is TBD (to be determined).
“With T.Y., I always think it’s TBD,’’ Reich said with a smile. “I don’t even want to say anything more. I have thoughts, but I’m better off not saying those.’’
It’s worth noting the Colts are 0-7 when Hilton has been out with an injury. Clearly, they miss him.
“He’s an elite playmaker. He can do everything,’’ Reich said. “He’s got elite speed, he can get deep, he’s got that elite feeling and instincts to get open against zones, and then he is in his way a unique leader.
“We look to him. When the offense is struggling, you say, ‘Let’s get T.Y. the ball.’ It’s like the whole place lights up. Do you miss that? Yeah, you miss it. But every team has the same stuff going on. So we’ve got to overcome that void.’’
Wideout Devin Funchess returned to practice on a limited basis for the first time since going on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury suffered in the opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. It’s possible he could progress enough to play Sunday, but that would be contrary to how the team has dealt with players coming back from an injury.
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