One snap away.
Those three words are always floating somewhere in the mind of an NFL backup quarterback.
He must be ready at a moment's notice to enter the game. For Brandon Weeden this week, those three words will help in keeping him prepared.
"You gotta be ready," Weeden said on Wednesday. "You don't know when it's going to be. You don't know the circumstance of the game. You just gotta be ready at all times."
With Brian Hoyer out due to a concussion, T.J. Yates will start and Weeden will be the backup on Sunday
at Indianapolis. With three starts this season as a Dallas Cowboy, and 24 starts in his 4-year NFL career, Weeden has a bit of experience from which to draw. Even though he's in a new offense, he's learned quite a bit since joining the Texans on November 19.
"Yeah, he's made a lot of progress," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "I don't think it's easy. I think that coming from different systems, he's been in a couple different systems now, ours is totally different than the ones he's been in, so I think he's really studied hard."
Weeden elaborated on the difficulty in switching from the Dallas offense to O'Brien's.
"It's like learning Chinese, backwards," Weeden said. "They're complete opposite, terminology-wise. There's not one thing that's similar."
Despite that gulf of a difference, O'Brien said Weeden's been tireless in trying to learn the offense and has grown by leaps and bounds in that regard. And even though Weeden's learning the names of "run plays that were pass plays" in Dallas, he said he's aided by the constantly changing offense the Texans employ.
"You gotta dial in on what it is you're running that week," Weeden said. "That's the good thing about this system: it's a week-to-week offense."
Yates has been in Weeden's position, one snap away, many times in his career. He performed admirably back in 2011 when he entered the game for an injured Matt Leinart. Yates helped guide the Texans to a win on the road at Jacksonville that day. The 5th-year vet did it again this season when he subbed in for Hoyer on Monday Night Football at Cincinnati. He and the Texans left town with a victory.
Yates, Weeden and the Texans will practice again on Friday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. They'll fly to Indianapolis on Saturday, where they'll face the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon CT.