Hoyer expected to start for Texans against Jags
HOUSTON (AP) Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer is in the last phase of the NFL's concussion protocol and will start Sunday against Jacksonville if he is cleared to play.
Hoyer missed the last two games after suffering his second concussion in less than a month on Dec. 13.
''He has progressed well through the protocol and he's basically in the last phase of that evaluation, and so I'll know more on Wednesday,'' coach Bill O'Brien said.
T.J. Yates started the first game Hoyer missed, but tore the ACL in his left knee in the second quarter. He was replaced by Brandon Weeden, who helped Houston to a win over Indianapolis in that game and led the Texans to a victory against Tennessee on Sunday. Despite his solid play the last two weeks, O'Brien said Weeden will likely head back to the bench this weekend.
''Brandon's done a really good job,'' O'Brien said. ''He did a good job in the Indy game, did a good job (Sunday) but if Brian's healthy and clear he's our starter.''
Weeden started three games for the Cowboys early this season after Tony Romo was injured and Dallas lost all of those games. He was replaced by Matt Cassel after that and was released by the Cowboys when Romo returned after his first injury. The Texans signed him on Nov. 19 after Hoyer's first concussion, but he didn't appear in a game until Yates was injured two weeks ago.
Hoyer said last week that he was feeling better but wasn't sure when he would be cleared to return. He missed just one game after his first concussion on Nov. 16, but was concussed again just three games later against the Patriots when he was sacked five times.
Even with Houston in the mix to win the AFC South for the first time since 2012, O'Brien said that wouldn't change how he'd approach Sunday's game and he doesn't plan on resting players.
''We have to focus on the Jacksonville Jaguars,'' O'Brien said. ''Believe me, I understand all those things and the scenarios. But I think this team has to really do what we've tried to do all year, especially in the last half of the season. To show up every day and get better. Try to improve and try to win.''
Notes: O'Brien said that outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is day to day with an injured foot, but that there is no structural damage and he could play on Sunday. Clowney, last year's top overall pick who has struggled with injuries in his two seasons in Houston, was injured in the fourth quarter against the Titans. ... Special teams star and backup cornerback Charles James, who had been playing for a month with a slight fracture in his foot, fractured it fully on Sunday and will be placed on the injured reserve.
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