Hoyer to be Cardinals’ 4th starting QB of 2012

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. –– The Arizona Cardinals will give Brian Hoyer his first NFL start, less than three weeks after the team claimed him off waivers from Pittsburgh.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday the former Michigan State quarterback and New England backup will start in the season finale Sunday at San Francisco.

“He’s been in the league, he’s a veteran guy,” Whisenhunt said. “He did a nice job in last week’s game and this is an opportunity to see what he can do with a week of practice and where he can go from there.”

Hoyer, who spent three seasons as a backup to Tom Brady in New England and was out of a job for most of this season, will be the fourth starter at quarterback for the Cardinals this year. He’ll be operating an offense that ranks last in the NFL.

Arizona also has gone with John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and rookie Ryan Lindley at the position. Kolb is out for the season with a rib injury. The other two were benched for poor play.

“It’s no secret. We haven’t gotten the production out of that position that we’ve needed,” Whisenhunt said. “I think it’s actually more than four if you consider back and forth, the way guys have started. We’ve got to get consistency at that position and this is an opportunity to see how Brian measures up.”

After failing to make it on an NFL roster to start the season, Hoyer was signed by the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger was injured, then waived after three weeks when Roethlisberger returned. The Cardinals signed him on Dec. 10, a day after losing 58-0 at Seattle. Hoyer has appeared in 14 NFL games, 13 with the Patriots, then last week in Arizona’s 28-13 loss to Chicago.

“It’s a crazy business, but to me it’s the best job in the world,” Hoyer said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m excited and going to work hard this week and try to put as much into it on the practice field and the film study and studying the books, and go from there.”

Arizona (5-10) has lost 10 of 11. After Lindley’s pass was intercepted by the Bears’ Charles Tillman and returned 10 yards for a touchdown on Arizona’s first series of the second half, Hoyer came in and completed 11 of 19 passes for 105 yards with one interception and no TDs.

“He has a good knowledge of the game, good timing on his throws,” Whisenhunt said. “He did a good job in the game last week, making some accurate throws, some quick throws. Obviously the interception wasn’t one of those, but it will be interesting to see how he stacks up with a week to prepare. I know he’s going against a tough defense. It will be a tough situation, but it’s a great time to evaluate him and see where he is.”