Allen Park — If there’s one thing Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer has learned over his eight-year career, it’s to be ready at any moment.
The former Michigan State standout has bounced around from team to team, making starts with the Cardinals, Browns and Texans before joining the Bears as the backup in the offseason — his third team in three seasons.
In Week 2, starter Jay Cutler left Chicago’s game against the Eagles at the end of the third quarter after fumbling and using his right hand to brace for impact as he fell to the ground. Cutler suffered a sprained right thumb and didn’t return.
Hoyer stepped in and completed 9 of 12 passes for 78 yards in one quarter of work. Then in Week 3, Cutler remained sidelined with a thumb injury and Hoyer threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns on 30-for-49 passing in the loss against the Cowboys.
With Cutler listed as day to day and his status for Sunday’s NFC North tilt up in the air, Hoyer could potentially make his first career start against the Lions (1-2, 0-1).
“I’ve been a starter for two different teams the last two years, so to be thrust into that role again is something that I’m not unfamiliar with,” Hoyer said. “I’m really just taking it day to day. With Jay’s status we don’t really know, just kind of going out there every day and taking it one day at a time.”
Hoyer said he tries to earn the respect of his teammates and show them he knows what to do when he’s put in a situation where he has to take over.
“The leadership role, that kind of comes with being the quarterback of getting everyone aligned, getting everything set up, but I think that comes with showing the command and the knowledge of you know how to do this,” Hoyer said. “You know how to be a quarterback in the NFL.”
In a little more than five quarters, Hoyer has been able to avoid interceptions and has been sacked once. As a starter, Hoyer is 15-12 in his career but 0-1 with the Bears (0-3).
“You look at the numbers, he brings experience to the table. He’s operated in a number of different systems,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “Typically when you find a guy that’s operated in a number of different systems, he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. Those kinds of guys it’s fairly easy to kind of tailor, you know, when I say easy — less difficult to tailor a plan for him to be able to function.
“He knows his strengths and weaknesses, but when you look at the numbers on him you see he’s effective. He’s moved the ball, he’s won some games in this league, a very capable leader, a smart guy. He’ll be tough to handle.”
If Hoyer gets the start, it’ll be his first time playing against Matthew Stafford since Georgia beat Michigan State, 24-12, in the 2009 Capital One Bowl — a game Hoyer remembers vividly.
“That was my last game and his last game. I remember meeting him there, obviously through the (NFL) Combine,” Hoyer said. “It’s actually crazy because last week we just played the Cowboys. Mark Sanchez was there and a list of the quarterbacks that were in my draft class. It’s me, Mark and Matt (as) the only ones that are left and I wasn’t even drafted, so it’s cool to finally get a chance to play against Matt.”
Hoyer added a win against Stafford won’t make up for the loss in 2009.
“They were a pretty good team and it was a tough game. It’s funny because people will ask you questions like that,” Hoyer said. “I’m not playing against Matt, I’m playing against the Lions defense, so I’m just preparing for them.”