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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Dec 27, 2012 - 5:51 pm

ESPN Insider: Brian Hoyer 'could be a starting quarterback' in the NFL

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) is pressured by Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije (71) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

For the first time in franchise history Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals will start their fourth quarterback of the season in the team's 2012 finale against the San Francisco 49ers.

The latest winner in Arizona's season-long quarterback shuffle is 27-year-old Brian Hoyer.

Hoyer, who signed with the Cardinals on December 10, will get the starting nod at quarterback against the league's fourth-ranked pass defense. While Sunday will mark his first career start under center, one ESPN Insider thinks the move is a logical one for Ken Whisenhunt and Co.

"I actually have seen a lot of Hoyer in a lot of preseason games with the New England Patriots, and I like what I saw," Ron Jaworksi told Arizona Sports 620's Burns & Gambo Thursday. "I just got done watching the Chicago game...and I thought Hoyer handled [the pressure put on by the Bears defense] pretty well.

"Obviously, he doesn't fully understand the Cardinals' system, where a player's going to be or what the adjustments are, but I thought there was a look of an NFL quarterback."

The look of an NFL quarterback has largely been missing with the Cardinals since Kevin Kolb went down with a season-ending injury in the team's loss to the Buffalo Bills on October 14. Arizona's offense is currently ranked last in the league in yards per game (263.1) and hasn't recorded a passing touchdown since Week 9 in Green Bay.

Heading into the offseason, the organization has a big decision on its hands regarding what direction to go in at quarterback. However, Jaworski thinks the Cardinals might already have a potential candidate internally.

"I saw a lot of the little things in Hoyer's game [on tape] that leads me to believe that going into training camp and understanding the system, that he could be a starting quarterback in this league," said Jaworski. "I told you a few weeks ago that I couldn't understand that after the Patriots released Brian Hoyer, he wasn't on someone's roster."

Hoyer went undrafted in 2009 and spent his first two seasons in the league with New England. In 2012, Hoyer was released by the Patriots and spent three weeks with the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with the Cardinals earlier this month. In Arizona's 28-13 loss to the Bears last Sunday, he completed 11 of 19 passes for 105 yards and an interception.

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