While I’m not one to ‘toot my own horn,’ this time around, I’m not tooting my horn to beat my chest, I’m indicating that I, like many others, did not see this backup quarterback battle as becoming the talk of the Texans Preseason the way it has.
For starters, I never thought Case Keenum had the ability to be much more than a backup quarterback in the NFL after what I saw of him last season. Granted, I didn’t watch him much at the University of Houston, but 6-foot, undrafted, system quarterbacks generally don’t materialize in the NFL. I figured Case would go that same route. Hang around on a few NFL rosters, carve out a 5-6 year NFL career where he might see some real game time if he’s lucky, bank some dollars if he’s smart, and then once the career is over go into coaching or finance.
Not a bad way to go.
But other than those U of H fans who have been merciless and unwavering for their support for Keenum, not many in the media or locally truly thought this kid could ascend to becoming the team’s backup in his second year, and while there’s still some football left to go, he’s in prime position to assume that role.
I’ll take it one step further.
I think you might have your heir apparent to Matt Schaub.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion and hype after one game, and I don’t want to start a ‘Case should be the starter’ plea like some were doing in the Texans postgame Friday night after the 27-13 win over the Vikings.
However, it’s hard not to watch this kid and not get excited about what he brings to the table. For one, he’s mobile. That by itself has Texans fan drooling. This fanbase wouldn’t know what to do with itself with a quarterback who might actually tuck it and run when the pocket breaks down and dare I say – either make a play with his feet or scramble for a first down.
His pocket presence is impressive. Now, that’s easy to say when he’s playing with second and third team guys, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves and say he’s Tom Brady in the pocket, but he was smooth Friday night, slid out of the pocket when he needed to and made the right reads most of the night.
Perhaps what I was most impressed by the other night, his ability to improvise. Teddy J unearthed a stat that only 40 percent of NFL plays go as scripted. Less than HALF. So you better have a quarterback who can do the damn thing after the ball is snapped, because the odds are, the play is going to break down and I want my quarterback not to panic. Nothing about Case Keenum suggests he’s the panicking type.
There’s still three preseason games left, but in reality, only two that count towards who is going to win that backup job because as we discussed last night on the show, the fourth game is a joke. I know Keenum still needs to nail down the backup job, but provided he does, and I think ultimately he will by a hair, the kid isn’t stopping there.
This is Schaub’s last season under contract that is guaranteed. Sure, he still has $9.5M left to him in guaranteed money, however his base salary isn’t guaranteed after this season, so if things don’t go well in 2013, you can let him go and the cap hit is negligible. I’m not rooting for Schaub to have a bad year, in fact, I hope the guy proves me and most everyone else wrong and comes out and has a monster year that culminates with taking the Texans and the city of Houston to its first Super Bowl.
With all the weapons, veterans and expectations on this team this year, not to mention the way the season ended last year, Schaub has plenty to prove. But if Keenum is your backup for 2013 and this team hits a rough spot, maybe even puts together a mini-slide comparable to last season…. Watch out. Kubiak worked with a mobile QB who wore #7 once before, and things turned out very well for both of them.