As I have said many times in the past, something I do not struggle with is separating my Saturday’s from my Sunday’s. Where a player attended college means next to nothing to me once they enter the NFL Draft. Once an athlete is in the NFL, what they did previous to getting there means bunk.Therefore, the local support for Vince Young, Johnny Manziel and Case Keenum have always been confusing to me. Yes, rooting for a guy because he played for your school makes sense; I realize not everyone can just turn that off. But when logic is thrown out of the window because of university loyalty, well that’s something I just don’t get.
While some of us have moved on and are quite excited about the defense the Houston Texans are putting together, others continue to dwell over the quarterback position. This leads me, of course, to the irrational emotions being thrown out on one Case Keenum.
By now we all know the story on Keenum; local kid that goes undrafted and gets the opportunity most in his position never get by getting the starting nod in a train wreck of a season. In the end, it didn’t work out. But I don’t think too many really expected it to. Houston was in the middle of a lost season after realizing they had hitched their wagon to the wrong guy in quarterback Matt Schaub and the outdated offensive scheme of Gary Kubiak. To expect more than we got out of Keenum is just being blind to reality.
But this is where things get tricky. The extreme emotions towards Keenum from both the true believers and the rest is intense and I just don’t understand why. I’ve made it quite clear that I’m not taking a stance on Keenum, one way or the other. Formerly attending the University of Houston myself, sure, I wanted to see the guy do well. But, above all things, I’m pretty realistic in my expectations of a player. When Case first showed up, he played pretty well. A lot of inexperienced quarterbacks are able to surprise some teams before they have any film on him. Then, reality sets in and they come back down to earth. This very much happened to Keenum, whether either side of opinion wants to believe it.
Keenum was thrust into a position that had a very low probability of success; injured stars, an underachieving offensive line, a stubborn coach and a team that had pretty much quit on the season. Those who think he is the second coming point to his quick start that showed him throw for seven touchdowns and no interceptions, while the rest only want to look at how things ended. The truth is, things are a pretty mixed bag. If Keenum had an Arian Foster or a right tackle that was little more than a hologram, could he have kept up his hot start? If his coaching staff had worked with him on how to read a blitz, perhaps? That’s something we’ll never know.
What I do know is the group pointing at Keenum for any of the reason behind the 2013 disaster are just being boobs. You have to remember that Case was playing safety on the scout team just five days before he was named the starter. He was nowhere near ready for what he was thrust into and closing the book on him at this point might be premature.
On the other hand, Keenum making the same mistakes week after week showed a shocking lack of growth and there were plenty of red flags there that The Cult of Keenum just refuses to acknowledge. The guy went undrafted for a reason and the fact that he had an opportunity to start for an NFL team for half of a season is way more than even he could have ever believed. Acting like he is some kind of hidden superstar is almost laughable.
With reports of Bill O’Brien not wanting to take four quarterbacks to camp surfacing, Keenum could once again be pondering his future in this league. Personally, I believe T.J. Yates will be the one that is moved, one way or another, but we’re likely to find out very soon. Who knows; O’Brien may like Keenum more than he’s letting on and will give him an opportunity to prove himself. I am of the belief that I wouldn’t hold my breath on that, but time will tell as crazier things have happened.
Again, I’m abstaining from making a declaration of dedication or shunning on Keenum. If Bill O’Brien is this big time quarterback whisperer he has been touted as, who knows what could happen. The last thing I’m going to do is declare him one thing and he turns out to be another. This league is just too unpredictable like that. I hope that others can stop naming him either the next big thing or a scourge upon this team; because it’s a high probability that he is neither.