Cardinals to give QB Hoyer first start

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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 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.”

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.

Notes

• A grand jury in Texas formally indicted Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter.

Brent is charged in connection with a Dec. 8 crash that killed his friend and Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown. Brent is out of jail on $100,000 bond.

• Linebacker Ray Lewis was added to the Baltimore Ravens’ 53-man roster, but coach John Harbaugh said he will not play Sunday against Cincinnati.

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