INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that the team is hoping to know by Wednesday whether or not quarterback Jacoby Brissett and his injured knee are officially good to go to play in Sunday's Week 11 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Brissett, who suffered a sprained left MCL early in the second quarter of the Colts' Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and didn't return, ended up sitting out yesterday's Week 10 matchup against the Miami Dolphins as a precaution.
Brissett now has another couple days of rest ahead of him before the team begins on-field preparations for the Jaguars, and Reich said the team is "encouraged and optimistic" about the quarterback's odds of suiting up this Sunday.
"Yeah, I mean, if Jacoby is healthy, he's our starting quarterback, obviously, and he'll go," Reich said Monday in his weekly conference call with local reporters. "And I'm not going to try to make any secret about it — I'm really not: if he's practicing on Wednesday and taking a full practice, you know, at that point we'll say we're ready to go; he's our starter and we're going full-bore. But we'll wait until Wednesday to make that determination."
Brissett, who got a majority of the reps in practice last week, was nearly cleared to start against the Dolphins, but Reich said after closely reviewing practice film, he felt more comfortable starting veteran backup Brian Hoyer and giving Brissett's knee more time to heal.
Hoyer, who learned he was starting on Saturday morning, completed 18-of-39 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in Indy's 16-12 loss to Miami.
"Yeah, it wasn't ideal. It wasn't ideal for Brian Hoyer, to be honest with you. I've been in that position, so you need as many reps as you can," Reich told Colts.com's Matt Taylor on Monday. "And (Hoyer) got some, but not as many as he needed to get as ready as he should be for that game.
"So I look back at that as a head coach and think, 'Yeah, I maybe could have handled that a little bit better; make sure he gets a few more reps than he did before making that decision.' So you live and learn that way," Reich continued. "But on the other hand, then, every backup quarterback knows that's your job, so you've just gotta be ready."
Here are other takeaways from Reich's conference call, as well as his weekly Monday appearance with Taylor:
» The team is hoping to see wide receiver Devin Funchess officially make his return to practice this week. Signed this offseason to be the Colts' No. 2 receiver, Funchess suffered a clavicle injury in the team's Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and was placed on injured reserve. The Colts' plan all along was to eventually use one of their two return-from-IR designations on Funchess, who was eligible to return to practice as soon as Oct. 23 and play as soon as this Sunday's game against the Jaguars. But Funchess has yet to check all the boxes needed to get back on the practice field, Reich said — something that could happen as soon as this week. Once that does happen, the team will have a 21-day window to decide whether to place Funchess back on the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season. "It's looking like he's gonna get out there this week, and technically he could be cleared to play for the game," Reich said. "But, you know, he's got a few more boxes to check. We've gotta make sure that he's good to go, because this will really be his first week of practice, and then we still have to see how much he's gonna be able to do on Wednesday. But we're really encouraged. I think he has another box he has to check before we can kind of go full-bore on the practice, but he's making good progress."
» The Colts are continuing to "take it day-by-day" on injured No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has been out since suffering a calf injury during a non-contact portion of practice on Oct. 30, Reich said today. Hilton was originally expected to miss about three or four weeks of game action, but both Reich and general manager Chris Ballard have commented recently on Hilton's unique ability to seemingly heal faster than the average player. "I mean, T.Y., we know he has an unique way of playing faster than you think, but I just have so much trust in him and our doctors," Reich told Taylor today. "I know he and the doctors are doing everything they can do to get ready."
» Running back Jordan Wilkins, who suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of yesterday's loss to the Dolphins and did not return, could be out "a week or so," Reich told Taylor today. "We just gotta see how he responds in the next couple days," Reich said. "Sometimes those ankles it just takes a day or two to kind of see exactly where he's at." Wilkins, a second-year running back out of Ole Miss, typically spells starter Marlon Mack, and has logged 27 carries for 165 yards on the year for a robust 6.1 yards-per-carry average; he also has four receptions for 27 yards. If Wilkins can't go Sunday against the Jaguars, then Jonathan Williams, the Colts' fourth running back, could see added snaps.