Posted October 17, 2013

Case Keenum will start at QB for Texans against Chiefs’ league-best defense

AFC South, AFC West, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs
Case Keenum is the next man up in Houston's quarterback rotation.

Second-year man Case Keenum is the next man up in Houston’s quarterback rotation. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Whether you prefer “craptacular” or “disasterific,” one has to invent words at this point to describe the Houston Texans’ quarterback situation. Starter Matt Schaub had set an NFL record by throwing pick-sixes in four straight regular-season games until he suffered an ankle injury last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams … at which point backup T.J. Yates came in and threw a 98-yard pick-six to Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree.

Now, with the Texans traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs and its league-best defense, head coach Gary Kubiak has made another call — it will not be Schaub or Yates against the Chiefs. It will instead be Case Keenum, the undrafted second-year player from the University of Houston. Keenum has been a bit of a Kubiak favorite since he hit his first training camp, but against a defense that put up nine sacks against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, this is a tall order. Schaub will not play at all, and Yates will be the backup.

“I didn’t hesitate, because I felt we needed a spark,” Kubiak said of his decision to start Keenum over Yates.

Keenum had better do more that bring a spark — he’ll have to start a bonfire to contend with Bob Sutton’s multiple and aggressive defense. It’s not just that Schaub and Yates haven’t played well — it’s also an issue for any Houston quarterback that the offensive line has not protected well and the run game has not been consistent.

On Wednesday, Kubiak said that Keenum and Yates had split reps in practice, and the decision might come down to the wire. Apparently not.

“It’s really cool,” Keenum said this week. “It’s not something I’ve thought about too much, but as far as actually right now in this moment, it’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time, playing quarterback in the NFL and being able to start for a team. In that sense, it’s a dream I’ve had for a really long time. I haven’t just worked this week. This isn’t the only week that I’ve worked. I’ve worked my whole life. I’m going to go out and get as much prepared as I can this week and go out and do the best I can on Sunday.”

The 6-foot-1, 208-pound Keenum was the latest in a long line of Houston quarterbacks to light up the scoreboard at the collegiate level, amassing 19,217 passing yards, 155 touchdowns and 46 interceptions in five seasons. He finished his college career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in total offense, passing yards, touchdowns and completions.

And though the track record isn’t that great for Houston quarterbacks when they hit the NFL — Andre Ware and David Klingler lead a less-than-illustrious list — Keenum did impress in the 2013 preseason, completing 43 passes in 63 attempts for 482 yards, three touchdowns and  (perhaps most importantly for this team) no interceptions.

That said, he’s never thrown a pass in the NFL regular season, and he hasn’t thrown a real meaningful pass since the Cougars beat Penn State in the Ticket City Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012.

“He has the gym rat type of gene, I guess,” offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said of Keenum on Wednesday. “He’s one of those guys that scrambles and does a lot of great things without the ball, with the ball. He understands the game and works very, very hard at it. He’s got a good arm and is very athletic. You could say the same things for T.J. We’ll make the right decision for our club.”

You could say that given the options, there is no right decision against this defense, but the Texans will throw their second-year man out there and see where it goes.

20 comments
espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

this is the gold gator, red hammer, circle it with 2 teacups pick of the week.....Texans over Chiefs  13-10

Fifilo
Fifilo

Not much to lose here.

Darrell1
Darrell1

Cmon guy. A blind man could see that the Texans need an upgrade at QB. Even on a good day Schaub is at best just slightly above average, and the way he's playing now, he's WAY below that.

So if they think Keenum has potential, got to find out this season. The 2014 draft figures to be heavy with quality QBs, so if Keenum isn't the guy, you'd think that would be the time for the Texans to get a young QB talent.


nycsports4life
nycsports4life

Finally. Case Keenum. Case Keenum, it's all we've been hearing about from all the Texans' "fans" for weeks now. They've all got big gay Tim Tebowesque crushes on him. Well this week he's finally going to get to play and guess what ... he's probably going to suck! Suck considerably more than Schaub! But hopefully it will at least cause morons from Texas to just shut up or stick a deep-fried twinkie in their mouth instead of endlessly droning on about their freakin' Qb.

Darrell1
Darrell1

Right call. Have to find out if the kid has anything before drafting a QB.

kyyled5
kyyled5

File this one under "can't be any worse than the other guys we have"

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

They should have gone for Josh Freeman.

gary41
gary41

First time anyone has mentioned his preseason work.  He made the grade for a reason.  Now he has a well deserved opportunity.  

Bucky182
Bucky182

Better put up UH-type numbers.

Mike26
Mike26

@Rickapolis Freeman's going to be a tantalizing but ultimately always-underachieving tease; he's a more QB-skilled version of Vince Young without the posse to suck him dry.

nycsports4life
nycsports4life

@Moebius Floyd I actually kind of like that idea. Pittsburgh could get younger and the Texans could get a two-time Super Bowl Champion. Of course, Raplisburger and Schaub both came into the league in the same draft, along with Eli Manning and Phil Rivers. So, they'd have to be convinced they were just one player away.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@Bucky182   What?  Pinball numbers against leagues best defense?  No team has put up UH type numbers against them.  They are giving up the fewest points per game.

On top of that, the Chiefs are not an offensive juggernaut so an opponent does NOT need to put up UH type numbers to beat them...

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Bucky182 Or what?   Somehow I don't  think that he will be throwing the ball fifty or sixty times.

anon76
anon76

@Sportsfan18

Exactly!

The Chiefs are giving up 5.1 yards per carry, and over 110 yards per game on the ground.  On the other hand, they're in the top 2 in each of opponent's completion pct, opponent's yards per attempt, sack rate, and interception rate.  Bad things happen when you throw against them.

I'm not convinced that KC can win many games without getting some turnovers, not with the way their offense is currently working.  I say see if you can get Arian Foster untracked, and whatever you do don't give that offense a short field, or even worse, points via a pick-six.

ph019
ph019

@anon76 @Sportsfan18 

normally i don't agree with the idea of picking and choosing what numbers should be included in a stat live ypc.  but in this instance, since we are talking about the Texans' running backs vs chiefs' defense and not the quarterback running...if you subtract the yards and carries that vick and pryor posted, the ypc average drops to 4.29.  not great but not horrible.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Mike26 Wow, approval from an anonymous critic.   The final thing on my lifelong to-do list has been checked off.