INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts officially have landed their backup quarterback with the 2019 season opener just days away.
The team announced today that it has signed veteran free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, who will back up starter Jacoby Brissett when the Colts travel to Los Angeles on Sunday for their Week 1 matchup against the Chargers.
In a corresponding move, the team has waived safety Rolan Milligan.
The Colts on Monday also signed four more players to their practice squad: defensive end Jamal Davis, running back Quinton Flowers, defensive tackle Brian Price and wide receiver Chad Williams.
Hoyer, 33, has spent most of the past two seasons with the New England Patriots as Tom Brady’s backup, but has starting experience with the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers.
In 65 career games with 37 starts, Hoyer has completed 838-of-1,412 pass attempts (59.3 percent) for 9,902 yards with 48 touchdowns to 30 interceptions.
"Brian has the toughness and accuracy we look for in a quarterback and he’s been in offensive systems that are similar to ours," Colts head coach Frank Reich said Monday. "He has a tremendous amount of experience and is a proven leader. Brian’s knowledge will be a valuable resource in supporting Jacoby and the team on and off the field. We’re excited to have him here."
The Colts’ plans at quarterback changed quickly on Aug. 25, when starter Andrew Luck announced his sudden retirement from the NFL. That immediately propelled Brissett into the starter’s job, while creating an opening for his backup.
With Chad Kelly already suspended the first two weeks of the regular season, the only other option on the Colts’ roster after the conclusion of the preseason would’ve been Phillip Walker, but the team waived him during final cuts on Saturday. Walker was then re-signed to Indy’s practice squad on Sunday.
Hoyer’s signing addresses an immediate need on the Colts’ roster; the team will use the next couple of weeks to determine whether Hoyer is the long-term answer in that spot, if it will turn to Kelly for the backup job once he returns from suspension or if the team could explore the possibility of keeping three quarterbacks.
“We want to make sure we make the right decision both in the short term and in the long term,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said on Sunday.
While Hoyer faces quite the learning curve over the next few days to get himself ready to go for this Sunday’s game against the Chargers, head coach Frank Reich isn’t worried about the plan the team will put into place.
Hoyer, after all, has been in this position before, having been acquired mid-season on three other occasions by the Pittsburgh Steelers (2012), Cardinals (2012) and Patriots (2017).
“In the scenarios that we’re talking about right now, no,” Reich said when asked if he’s concerned about a quarterback coming in and learning critical concepts right away. “All the scenarios that we’re talking about behind closed doors, they’re obviously all scenarios that we think put us in a winning position Week 1.”
Practice squad additions
Here's more on the Colts' four newest additions to their practice squad, courtesy of Colts Communications:
» Davis, 6-4, 240 pounds, participated in the Houston Texans’ 2019 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts on August 31. He originally signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent on May 10, 2019. Collegiately, Davis started 24-of-26 games in two seasons (2017-18) at Akron and compiled 151 tackles (87 solo), 31.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He sat out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Davis spent two seasons (2014-15) at Pittsburgh. He appeared in three games in 2015 and collected one tackle and one fumble recovery. Davis redshirted as a true freshman in 2014.
» Flowers, 5-10, 211 pounds, participated in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2019 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts on August 31. As a rookie in 2018, he spent time on the Bengals’ active roster and practice squad but did not see game action. Flowers originally signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent on May 11, 2018. As a collegiate quarterback, he finished with 42 school records at South Florida, including the school and American Athletic Conference record for total offense (11,802 yards). Among his numerous school records, Flowers is the program leader in rushing yards (3,672), rushing touchdowns (41), passing touchdowns (71) and total touchdowns responsible for (112). His career rushing yards rank ninth-most by a quarterback in FBS history.
» Price, 6-3, 300 pounds, participated in the Cleveland Browns’ 2019 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts on August 31. The Lafayette, Ind. native has played in 22 career games (one start) in his time with the Browns (2018), Oakland Raiders (2018), Dallas Cowboys (2017) and Green Bay Packers (2016) and has totaled 20 tackles (11 solo), 1.0 tackle for loss and one pass defensed. Price was originally signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent on May 6, 2016.
» Williams, 6-2, 204 pounds, participated in the Arizona Cardinals’ 2019 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts on August 31. He played in 16 games (eight starts) with the Cardinals (2017-18) and caught 20 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown. Williams also registered three carries for 42 yards. He was originally selected by Arizona in the third round (98th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.