HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) – It’s fairly certain the Texans will have the number 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft with two games to play and the worst record in the league at 2-12. Their final two games include a visit from 11-3 Denver and a trip to Nashville against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans were the last team defeated by the Texans back in September. Mike Munchak’s team will have revenge in their eyes!
The Texans are not a good football team and have made some well-documented organizational changes. Owner Bob McNair and GM Rick Smith are currently going through the process of hiring a new head coach while defensive coordinator Wade Phillips serves as interim. But, just as important, changes on the playing field are in order.
While they have many position needs, quarterback is getting the most attention. McNair stated weeks ago that he wants to see Case Keenum at the position. He knows what he has in Matt Schaub who is likely done in Houston even with the sprained thumb suffered by Keenum in the 25-3 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis.
“Matt probably just needs a change of address. I don’t think Houston’s probably the place for him anymore,” says Hall of Fame quarterback, Warren Moon.
“I think he can still play the game. I think he can still play at a high level. His confidence there in Houston, I don’t think he’ll ever be able to regain that in that environment because of the way people think about him, the way he’s perceived. He just needs to go somewhere else and get a fresh start.”
MOON KNOWS QUARTERBACK
If we’re going to discuss quarterbacks, it’s a good idea to enlist the opinion of one of the best especially if he’s gone through a similar situation. If you can’t trust the opinion of a Hall of Fame Quarterback who threw for 49,325 yards and 291 touchdowns in 17 NFL seasons, who can you trust! During his six years in Canada, moon rewrote those books passing for 21,228 yards and 144 touchdowns.
If you watched ‘A Football Life’ on the NFL Network which chronicled the Houston Oilers turbulent season of 1993, you might have been made aware that Moon was benched following a 1-4 start in favor of backup Cody Carlson. So, even great quarterbacks get benched.
But, in the Case of Keenum, the undrafted free-agent set passing records at the University of Houston but has yet to win a game as the Texans starting quarterback. Through eight games, Keenum is 137-of-253 for 1760 yards, 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a completion percentage of 54.2. Just to provide a barometer, San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers ranks first among NFL starters with a completion percentage of 69.9.
Moon understands Keenum’s travails and rendered a fair observation.
“I think wherever young quarterbacks struggle is in the redzone because that’s when the field shrinks up and it’s hard to make plays down there. That’s probably the biggest area where he probably needs to improve. I think he’s done a good job. But, they still haven’t won football games with him and that’s the bottom line.”
Regardless, the evaluation of Keenum continues. The Texans will also evaluate other positions and assess their needs. While doing so, it’s fair to say that Keenum has not had the benefit of playing behind a staple offensive line. Could that have made a difference in the 12 consecutive losses?
Whether it’s fair or not, the question will be whether Keenum can be the Texans starting quarterback in 2014.
“I’m not sure,” says Moon. “I think I need to see the rest of these games this year and make a decision on that. It’s a little bit less difficult when you come into a situation when your team is at the bottom and they’re looking for a spark. He’s probably given them a little bit of a spark even though they still are not winning.
I want to see where they put everything together and they win football games with him playing well. If they can do that (the next two weeks), maybe he can be the guy for them next year because that means the team has confidence in him. If it doesn’t happen, then that means they probably need to find somebody else for the long term.”
THAT SOMEBODY ELSE…
Several good, young collegiate quarterbacks are preparing for the upcoming NFL draft including Clemson’s Taj Boyd, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, A&M’s Johnny Manziel and UCLA’s Brett Hundley, should they decide to declare for the draft. Add Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and the draft is hefty with talented quarterbacks.
The Texans will have tough decisions to make because of the many unanswered questions. However, when asked which of these is most NFL-ready and who would fit the Texans’ system best, Moon offered a preliminary observation.
“Probably Teddy Bridewater just because he’s in a West Coast system right now in Louisville. The big question on him is whether he played the (type of) competition that some of the other guys have played. But, as far as knowing the offense, being productive in the offense, and a similar offense to what the Texans are doing right now, he’d be the guy.
But, with Gary Kubiak gone, we don’t know who the new coach is going to be. So, that could be something totally different and maybe Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the guy. So, we kind of have to wait and see who the new coach is going to be before we decide which quarterback is going to be best for the football team. That’s down the road. But, if you’re looking at it right now, today, I’d say Teddy Bridgewater.”
ON A RELATED NOTE
Can’t help but notice the Redskins quarterback situation unfold with the benching of Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. That decision to bench Griffin and start backup Kirk Cousins was announced by Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan during a press conference prior to last Sunday’s contest versus Atlanta.
Shanahan implied that hits Griffin was taking might set him back. Griffin had been medically cleared to play and expressed his desire to finish the season according to reports.
Asked if Griffin should have been benched, Moon was clear in his disagreement.
“No! I think if he’s going to be the quarterback of your future, you’ve got to let him play the season out. And if you do decide to shut him down, let him find one game, maybe it’s this week, where he has some success and then you shut him down. The last thing he experienced is a negative. You don’t want your quarterback to be shut down having had (several) bad football games in a row.
That’s all he has to think about the rest of the season until he gets back out on the field again next year. Let him go into the off-season with something positive to hang his hat on and hopefully that will happen within the next week and then you can shut him down for the last game if you’re worried about him getting hurt.”
The Redskins have two games remaining versus the Dallas Cowboys and at the New York Giants.