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Brian Hoyer feeling 'great' ahead of regular-season finale

HOUSTON -- On the brink of winning the AFC South, the Texans (8-7) are getting back their starting quarterback.

Brian Hoyer has cleared the concussion protocol and will start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Bill O'Brien said.

"I thought he practiced really well," O'Brien said. "... I thought he looked really sharp. It all depends on how it looks on Sunday. He's looked good, he's got good command of our offense and what we're doing and the ball seems like it's coming out of his hand real well."

Hoyer missed the Texans' wins in Indianapolis on Dec. 20 and at Tennessee on Dec. 27 with a concussion he sustained Dec. 13. It was the second concussion he sustained in less than a month.

"I feel great," Hoyer said. "No reservations or anything like that. I'm ready to go play and play like I always do."

Hoyer was cleared to practice last week but never got cleared for the games.

"He was able to run the scout team, and I think that helped him," O'Brien said when asked about how Hoyer would shake off rust after a few missed games. "Even though he's running the other team's plays, he was able to be out there throwing the ball as basically full practice speed, which I think is good. I think a lot of it, the onus is on the player. The player has to do a good job of keeping up with the material, making sure he's studying film and preparing like he's going to play."

In Hoyer's absence, the Texans had two different starting quarterbacks. T.J. Yates started against the Colts, but suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter of that game. Brandon Weeden, who had been added to the Texans roster less than a month prior, entered the game in Yates' place and led the Texans to their first win in Indianapolis.

Weeden started the next week in the Texans' victory over the Titans, throwing two touchdown passes and running for another.

"It's hard when, however it is, you see someone else do your job," Hoyer said. "Brandon and TJ have done a great job of keeping us in it and getting us to this point. I applaud them and thank them for keeping it going while I had to deal with this concussion stuff. It is a sense of feeling left out. As a competitor and an athlete, you want to get back out there."