My biggest gripe with Hooker has been when he has had to come up and make some tackles and looked completely incompetent. I think that can be improved, but his range can't be. He can cover some serious territory and QB's have to know where he is.
With a projected better rush (and hopefully playing with a lead much of this year) I think Hooker will get 3+ INT's this year.
Benching JB would have also crushed his confidence as well...probably even more so.
The only way to navigate it was to put JB on IR due to the knee injury...which would have meant Kelly had to play. But JB wasn't hurt bad enough for that...as both he and Reich have said.
It was a lose-lose situation...that I am sure they didn't see coming back in August.
Practiced well enough to get on the 53-man half of the season. It doesn't seem like they had any intention of playing him (some even say it was a "test")...so I don't think it's a reflection of how he practiced...but more so principle.