Uncertain situation for Chicago Bears at quarterback
There is a previous level of familiarity between Chicago Bears backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, which should help what could be a convoluted situation.
That's assuming Hoyer starts in place of injured Jay Cutler on Sunday night on the road against the Cowboys, which is likely. Hoyer started 13 games for the Browns in 2014 when Loggains was quarterbacks coach in Cleveland.
"If Brian did have to play," Loggains said, "obviously it does help knowing what he does well, the things that he's comfortable with."
Cutler missed a second straight day of practice Thursday with a sprained right thumb, and it's doubtful he even will be active Sunday, although Bears coach John Fox said he'd wait until 90 minutes before game time to make that decision.
In the meantime, Loggains will try to accentuate Hoyer's strengths, which he says are many.
"Experience is No. 1," Loggains said. "He's played and has a winning record as a starter in the NFL. He's a very smart guy. He's accurate. (He) throws with timing."
The eight-year veteran is 15-11 as an NFL starter, and 22 of his 26 starts have come in the previous two seasons. His 19-7 TD-interception ratio and 91.4 passer rating last year with the Texans were the best of any season in which he's started at least one game.
In another indication that Cutler's thumb will not permit him to play Sunday night, practice squad quarterback Matt Barkley was promoted to the active roster Thursday.
Sans Cutler, Barkley will be the backup to Hoyer.
So, in a season that began with two offensive linemen being worked into the starting lineup in six days, Loggains is attempting to assimilate two quarterbacks into this week's game plan.
"If you do go through quarterback changes, it's different than other positions," said the Bears' first-year coordinator. "But we've had different challenges every game, juggling whatever position it may be. Having some experience with Brian, if he was the guy that ends up playing, definitely helps."
Barkley is more of a newcomer than Hoyer. He only has been with the Bears since Sept. 5, two days after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals. So what already was a crash course in learning the Bears' offense has been fast-tracked.
"I'm here pretty much here at the facility until late," he said. "Then I have dinner, and there's my time to wind down, call my wife and face-time my kids and then right back at it. (But) calling them, seeing their faces kind of puts my mind at ease."
The 26-year-old Barkley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round out of Southern Cal in 2013.
As a rookie, he completed 30 of 49 passes for 300 yards with no touchdowns and 4 interceptions for a 44.6 passer rating playing behind Nick Foles and Michael Vick. He has thrown just 1 pass since then and none last year as a Cardinal.
But now he's one play away.
"You have to be ready (and) prepare like a starter," he said. "Even if I was the third string, I was preparing like I'm starting. I think you have to have that mentality every week in this league because you never know what's going to happen."
Barkley says there are similarities to the offenses he learned in Philadelphia and Arizona, but he's still early in the process.
"He's getting there," Loggains said. "To say that he's ready to digest the entire game plan and play well and execute it would be an overstatement at this point."
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