So far this week, there had been a lot of discussion on who would start at quarterback for each team when the Indianapolis Colts face the Houston Texans this Sunday. After the two head coaches had their press conferences today, however, those questions seem to have greatly diminished.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said that, while Andrew Luck returned to practice on Wednesday, he will NOT play on Sunday, taking any drama out of the situation. The only question remaining is whether it will be Matt Hasselbeck (who is dealing with a rib injury) or Charlie Whitehurst starting for the Colts. Pagano said that he expects Hasselbeck to be ready to go, so at the time being it sounds like it will be Hasselbeck for the Colts.
From the Texans' side of things, head coach Bill O'Brien announced today that Brian Hoyer is still in the concussion protocol and will not play on Sunday, meaning that T.J. Yates will get the start in the biggest game of the season for both teams. "We know how big of a game it is," Yates said. "Season is basically on the line for both of us."
It will be the second start for Yates this year (in his fourth game), and in the previous three games he has completed 22 of 47 passes (46.8%) for 302 yards (6.43 yards per attempt), three touchdowns, and no interceptions for an 89.1 passer rating. Yates has played in 17 career games (six starts) in five seasons, completing 58.1% of his passes for 1,466 yards (6.8 yards per attempt), six touchdowns, and seven interceptions for a passer rating of 74.4. He has made one career start for the Colts before, in 2011 in a game the Texans lost at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Hoyer has had a solid season for the Texans, completing 60.5% of his passes for 2,357 yards and 18 touchdowns against six picks (good for a 93.0 passer rating), but he suffered his second concussion of the season in last Sunday's loss to the Patriots - along with a strained neck and a wrist injury. It's little surprise that he has been declared out for the game, meaning that Yates will get the start against the Colts in Indy. The only question now is who will be starting for the Colts, but we know it won't be Andrew Luck.