By Sean Pendergast

I didn’t need this aggravation, I really didn’t.

Today is a busy day. I have a show to do at 2:00 p.m., a Texans game to cover at 7:00 p.m., and a post game show to do afterwards. I really don’t have time for this.

But apparently, there is something called a “Chris Baldwin” who has taken his Case Keenum-truthing to Olympic levels, and his host-trolling of my colleague Nick Wright so far that he has stepped way outside the boundaries of journalism and into a realm that appears to be some cross between “drunk Keenum jersey tailgate guy” and a creepy homage to Robin Williams’ character in 24 Hour Photo.

And I don’t have time to write about this, but I am going to, because Nick is my dude, and I’m trying to be the best teammate I can be.

In something that I will loosely call a column on Culturemap, Baldwin gloats for a couple thousand words about how Case Keenum appears to be in line to make the Texans 53 man roster. Actually, to be more accurate, Baldwin spends a couple thousand words implying that Nick Wright harbors a personal grudge against Case Keenum and that Keenum was only ever in real danger of losing his spot on the Texans if an “Aaron Rodgers” or “Peyton Manning” caliber quarterback were to come available.

Yes, that actually happened. Amidst Baldwin’s delusional Molotov cocktails waywardly tossed at Nick Wright
(picture Miss Texas throwing the first pitch at the Rangers game HERE):

He actually wrote this:

“Is there some Alice In Wonderland scenario where Keenum could get cut by the Texans on Friday? Sure, if O’Brien’s all-time favorite quarterback prospect suddenly found himself set free, it could “possibly” happen. If Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning were somehow cut, both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Keenum would be looking for new teams, too.”

The remainder of the column is a Zapruder for another time and place, a Hoarders-level apartment-mountain of Keenum drool, Wright hate, and egregious error. Honestly, the only thing missing is Baldwin’s iTunes playlist of “Songs To Watch Case To.”

So rather than speak in general platitudes, gloat with no actual analysis, and act like temporarily keeping an NFL career backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick is some sort of Pro Bowl caliber accomplishment (a collective maneuver we will call “The Baldwin”), here would be my bullet points were Mr. Baldwin to aim his pop gun in my direction:

* Case Keenum has led the Texans’ offense to exactly zero touchdowns this preseason, and has a passer rating of 59.7 in three games. He’s been anywhere from mediocre to flat out awful. (For a basis of comparison on just how bad 59.7 is, Geno Smith was at the bottom of all qualifying NFL passers in 2013 with a 66.5 passer rating. Geno Smith was abysmal in 2013.)

* This should not be unexpected, however, as his passer rating after the first three starts last season (also known as the “Period After Which The League Figured Out You Just Need To Blitz Case Keenum”) was 59.98. (Again, Geno Smith, 66.5, hmm?)

* In his first three starts (at KC, vs Indy, at Arizona) where Keenum was so close (but yet so far) to winning a game, his first half passer ratings were 137.5, 131.5, and 101.3. His second half passer ratings were 85.4, 96.4, and 68.5. These games would be a harbinger of the overall story-line arc with Keenum which is this…

The league cracked the Case Keenum code, and it didn’t take long — blitz him like crazy, make him think, get him on the run, and bad things will happen for the Texans.

In that Kansas City game, Case Keenum was sacked zero times in the first half, and five times in the second half, including three sacks on third down. I don’t want to be overly harsh, because it was his first NFL start, but that’s evidence right there of the “secret sauce” (that’s not really a huge secret). (I have no access to an analytics site that can tell me this, but just looking at the play-by-play detail for his eight starts, Keenum had to lead the league in “sacks for greater than ten yards in lost yardage.” Good lord, man. And by the way, we need that stat delineation for sacks — sacks and CRIPPLING sacks).

Even in the New England game, a game that was just another Brady bedpost notch that Baldwin has somehow turned into Case Keenum’s personal “Tyrion Lannister at Blackwater ” moment, Keenum completed 50 percent — FIFTY PERCENT — of his passes and got half of his 272 passing yards on three plays.

Hardly the model for sustainable success…as we found out in virtually every other game from halftime of the Arizona game going forward.

Case Keenum gave us all a few nice thrills last season, injected a sugar high into the city at a time when we all needed it. But sugar highs never last. in fact, they’re usually followed by a massive headache, pangs of regret, and eventually a diabetic coma.

I would love for Case Keenum to become a solid NFL quarterback, because it would mean that, y’know, the Texans have a solid NFL quarterback.

For now, he appears to be in line to tenuously hang onto a backup spot behind a quarterback who had a 61.4 passer rating in the preseason, and is playing for his third team in three years.

Now, Case is a smart and humble guy. My guess is he doesn’t feel nearly as celebratory as Chris Baldwin, which is just really weird.

It makes you wonder how many words Baldwin will type when, under O’Brien, Keenum actually leads the Texans on a touchdown drive.


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