On paper, it would seem that not a lot went right for Case Keenum in the Houston Texans 40-13 waxing by the San Francisco 49ers at NRG Stadium tonight.
But the eye test, at least per 49ers cornerback Chris Cook, offers some grounds for optimism.
Cook, who picked off Keenum late in the second quarter and returned it to the Texans 13-yard-line to set up a 49ers touchdown, said it looked like Keenum was doing a good job working through his progressions, not holding the ball for too long and not forcing things.
All watermarks of an improving young QB.
The opposite of Keenum this preseason.
“It seemed like he would get off of his receivers pretty fast to me,” Cook said.
“Go to his second read or third read or even just scramble out of the pocket.”
Keenum was far from great, completing only 8 of 17 passes for 70 yards and that interception, for a 33.9 quarterback rating. Rookie Tom Savage wasn’t much better, going 8 of 12 for 43 yards and an interception, a pick-six by 49ers rookie linebacker Chris Borland.
Cook’s scouting report of Keenum wasn’t all positive. On said on the interception, Cook said it looked like Keenum made a desperation heave, which sounds like “typical Keenum.”
“I think they had a miscommunication, really,” Cook said. “Because the receiver ran a comeback, and (Keenum) just threw it up. … He just kinda let it go. I think he thought his guy was gonna bend it in a little bit. They just had a miscommunication, and I just capitalized on it.”
The part about there being a miscommuncation on the play between Keenum and wide receiver Keyshawn Martin should be noted, as it was a recurring theme tonight. Though Keenum didn’t exactly have the greatest support, with Xavier Su’a-filo struggling thoroughly at left tackle and Tyson Clabo looking like no longer an NFL player at right tackle, a second-team player’s rapport with second-team receivers shouldn’t be an issue. It was tonight.
But if there was ever a silver lining for a performance like Keenum’s, it was that exactly. Keenum at times was doing things quarterbacks need to do to be successful. Things that Keenum, who entered tonight on the verge of losing the backup quarterback job to Savage (and maybe even a roster spot, given the Texans waiver priority), wasn’t doing before.
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