By Richard Bowman
Don’t call it a comeback, Case Keenum has been here for years, well sort of. After going undrafted in 2012, the all-time passing yards leader in Division 1, FBS history joined the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent. After not playing at all his first season in the NFL, the Texans called on Keenum during the 2013 season after they had lost four-straight games.
The result wasn’t pretty; however not many quarterbacks could have led the Texans out of the hole they were slowly falling into. Case Keenum, despite going 0-8 did show some positives. For being an undrafted free agent quarterback, who found himself thrown into the fire after just one season in the NFL, he showed a lot of poise. In the eight games he started, he only had one game where he had more turnovers than touchdowns. Keenum’s number on the year were 54.2 Cmp%, 9 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 1,760 yards with a quarterback rating of 78.2.
After the season, the Texans ended up waiving Case Keenum to make room for Ryan Mallett. Yes, the same Ryan Mallett who was cut by the Texans earlier this season for missing a team flight. The next day, he was claimed by the St. Louis Rams; however after only being with the Rams for about two months Keenum was waived, so that the Rams could make room for safety Mark Barron. About a month and a half later, he returned to the Texans after Ryan Fitzpatrick broke his leg. Keenum ended up starting to two games for the Texans going 2-0.
After the season, Keenum once again found himself back on the Rams, but this time it was by trade. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher made Keenum the backup quarterback to Nick Foles. That only lasted 10 weeks, as after the Rams lost to the Bears, Jeff Fisher announced that Nick Foles would be benched in favor of Case Keenum.
This may be Case Keenum’s last chance.
Case Keenum isn’t the biggest guy nor is he the most talented, but he’s fearless and willing to make all the throws. Of course, this can be a negative at times, but Keenum has the arm to make all the throws. Keenum is also very good at maneuvering around in the pocket, he reminds me a lot of Romo with his shiftiness and subtle movements along with always keeping his eyes downfield are what allow him to make throws under pressure. Keenum just thrives off chaos.
In what is Case Keenum’s best game to date, he made some very beautiful throws against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football back in 2013. In the gif below you’ll see Keenum roll out and make a beautiful pass to Andre Johnson. Not only does Keenum show off his arm strength, but he also throws Andre Johnson open, it even looked like he surprised pro-bowl safety Antoine Bethea on the play with his arm strength.
In this gif, you’ll see Keenum face pressure immediately and instead of panic like most young quarterbacks, he’s able to extend the play and complete a pass for a first down.
Despite throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns that game, the Texans would still go on to lose. It is worth noting Gary Kubiak, who was the head coach of the Texans at the time, collapsed walking to the locker room at halftime, he was transported to the hospital. This seemed to just suck the life out of the Texans in the second half.
One receiver who should almost immediately benefit from Keenum starting at quarterback is wide receiver Kenny Britt. It just so happens that one of the better deep-ball throwers in the league will now be throwing to one of the better deep-ball catchers in the league. Look for Britt to be Keenum’s security blanket because of his size and catching radius. Nick Foles, who Keenum is replacing at quarterback also has a big arm, but he’s been known to be very conservative, despite possessing a very strong arm.
Look for a lot of these looks for Britt when the Rams get into the red zone, as well.
This preseason, the Rams got to see his arm strength and deep ball first hand when he threw a beauty to Chris Givens which resulted in an 80-yard touchdown.
Just in case the gif above doesn’t work, here’s a link to the video: Case Keenum hits Chris Givens for an 80-yard touchdown
Plays like the ones above are the reason why Rams fans should be optimistic about Case Keenum; however there’s also another reason why and is because of the past success, the Rams have had with quarterbacks like Keenum.
Anybody else remember Kurt Warner? After going undrafted in 1994 Warner then got cut by the Packers after being invited to their training camp, he was then stocking shelves at a grocery store before he opted to go play in the Arena Football League. After three years in the AFL, Warner was signed by the Rams but would soon find himself Amsterdam playing in the NFL’s now defunct Europe league. After a successful season in Europe, Warner found himself on the Rams roster backing up Tony Banks and Steve Bono. The next season; however, saw him bump up to number two on the depth chart behind Trent Green, who ended up breaking his leg in a preseason game vs the Chargers. The rest is history, as Warner led the Rams to the Super Bowl that season and ended up being named Super Bowl MVP.
It wasn’t soon after, though, that the Rams had another underdog story. Kurt Warner would help lead the Rams to the playoffs in 2000 and 2001, as well making another Super Bowl appearance in 2001, despite that Warner would struggle in 2002 which opened the door for a quarterback, who was selected in the sixth-round of the 2000 NFL Draft and had already been on two teams before joining the Rams for the 2002 season. Can you guess who? Marc Bulger is his name. Even though, he never brought a Super Bowl to St. Louis, Bulger is still a remarkable story in his own right. Ultimately injuries ruined his chances of ever being a long-term starting quarterback, but Bulger still gave the Rams quite a few memorable seasons.
Now it’s Case Keenum’s turn to potentially be the next quarterback gem for the Rams. Can he do it? Sure; however, the question will be will he? Nobody knows, but one thing’s for sure Case Keenum is ready to prove once and for all that he is a starting quarterback in the NFL.