Keenum could leapfrog Yates (maybe eventually Schaub)


In some cities, quarterbacks are battling for the starting job.  In others, the fight is unfolding at a lower level on the depth chart.

In Houston, second-year signal-caller Case Keenum could be in the early stages of making a checkers-style series of jumps that could eventually put him in the starting job.

For now, Keenum could be supplanting T.J. Yates as the primary backup to Matt Schaub.  And that would be no small feat, given that Yates led the Texans to the first playoff win in franchise history.

“Well they are two good football players, so it’s a nice problem for us,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Saturday.  “I think Case has come a long way.  That has nothing to do with T.J. not doing something.  I think T.J. is having a dang good camp.  He’s a better player than he was the last couple of years.  It’s just a very competitive situation for us right now and it’s going to make our team better.  It’s making both of those guys better.  It will help them in their careers, but it’s definitely making our team better.”

The praise comes a day after Keenum, undrafted from the University of Houston in 2012, completed 13 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings as the third quarterback in the game.  The performance may have earned Keenum the No. 2 slot for the Texans’ next preseason game.

“We’re going to talk about that this week,” Kubiak said.  “What I’m trying to do is get him and T.J. in the exact same situations as players with pretty much equal reps, so that’s something that may be a topic this week.  They will continue to both play a great deal.  It’s a very good battle going on and they both did a good job last night.”

Starter Matt Schaub, who’d be the next guy in the Abilene native’s sights, sees a night-and-day difference in Keenum after one year.

“It’s confidence,” Kubiak said.  “It’s knowledge of what we’re doing.  He’s just got a little swagger to him when he plays and that’s the way he played in college.  I mean, he’s very confident.  Doesn’t get caught with the ball.  As a coach, you call a bad play and he makes it a good one.  That’s just what he can do. I’ve never seen a guy smile so much when he plays football.  He’s having a good time and he’s got a lot of confidence in what’s going on.  You can tell how far he’s come in camp and obviously last night showed you that it’s continuing.”

Keenum’s confidence could be the thing that helps light a fire under Schaub.  With men like quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell and G.M. Rick Smith both saying in recent weeks that Schaub needs to step up in big moments, perhaps knowing that Keenum would be unfazed is the thing that will Schaub get to that point, too.

If not, the Texans could be the next team in the Lone Star State with a starting quarterback who didn’t hear his name called once during the draft.

33 responses to “Keenum could leapfrog Yates (maybe eventually Schaub)

  1. There are many elite QB’s in the NFL, but Schaub is not one of them. He probably doesn’t have to worry about losing his job this year, but it would be unwise of him to relax his grip on the starting job. You never know.

  2. Great story and it would be awesome to see Keenum rise to stardom, I’ve always liked him. And if he needs more confidence he can watch the Lions game and see THREE undrafted QBs outplay Matt Stafford!

    Who else can say they have watched an NFL game where that has happened to a #1 overall pick?

  3. Schaub is one Drew Bledsoe like hit from being supplanted by Case. Because trust me, if that guy gets his shot, he is sure as hell going to seize it. You never wish injury on anyone, but that’s what it will take to move on from the Schaub era. Kubiak is way too loyal to bench his guy.

    Eat em up, Case!

  4. Keenum looked very good and showed some athleticism. Never been a huge TJ fan. He just looks so stiff and never looks comfortable.

    Case looked right at home. If he stays a backup so be it but he looked more like a QB than Yates ever did…..

  5. Unless the brass believe Keenum can do for them what Kap did for the 9ers, this is not happening, nor being considered. Makes for good blogging to get responses though.

  6. realfootballfan says:

    “Sorry, but Keenum is the definition of a career backup. This is a non-story.”

    Yeah, because you really know how to evaluate players. Get over yourself, Sparky.

  7. While he looked good last night, I’m not sure it’s time to anoint him the next starter for the Texans. In a game when many big names sat out on both sides he was going against almost exclusively guys who will be looking for jobs somewhere other than the NFL in about a week. In addition they really only ran three plays while he was in there against a base cover two D that didn’t make any adjustments. He has potential, but I would imagine he would need to show a complete grasp of an offense against better competition before he moves past anyone. With that said he seemed to be the best player on the field in the 4th quarter of last nights matchup.

  8. Why do some people put so much stock into the first preseason game? If Tebow were to have had a good day this first game of the season, they probably would start saying that Brady should be scared for his job. Preseason games are for evaluating players, geniuses.

  9. Hang on, let’s not get carried away. Yates is a GOOD GUY and a HARD WORKER. He MOTIVATES the people around him to PLAY BETTER. Plus he’s WON A PLAYOFF GAME(!). Maybe you all just hate him because of his personal beliefs. Maybe you all just wish you were as good as he is.

    Or do those rules just apply one ONE player in the NFL?

  10. If you ever see a picture of Schaub, Yates, and Keenum next to one another, you will see why Case has a tough hill to climb the depth chart. He is at least 5 inches shorter than them.

  11. What a joke, he did it against the Vikes 3rd & 4th string d. None of those guys will even be on the team. Hope u r not measuring him against that bunch.Otherwise the Texans are in even worst shape then when we smoked them last year!

  12. Vikes fan, I thought they both looked good. TJ threw a nice ball to hopkins for a TD against 2nd string defenders. Chase played solid too but it was against 3rd/4th string guys.

  13. Plenty of second and third string QB’s look terrible this week so it isn’t a given that going against the second string is sooo easy. Case played behind second/third string line but scrambled and showed his ability to throw on the run.

    Followed Case in college and you always felt he could lead the team on a TD drive when needed no matter how little time was left. Hope it works out at this level of competition. It helps that he is so accurate.

  14. Kubiack could have joe Montana as the third string, but would refuse to promote him over TJ and Schaub because those are his guys. They are extremely boring and not very good, but they don’t make mistakes, and that is all Kubes cares about. It will win us 9+ games, but is very frustrating as a fan.

  15. While I agree Shaub is not a world beater, the Texans are essentially stuck with him, he is better and more experienced than any qb on their roster. There also is a 99% chance a markedly better option at QB will not be available on the market for the foreseeable future. And Shaub is good enough to keep the Texans good enough as a team to have low 1st rd picks for the foreseeable future, eliminating the possibility of grabbing one of those elusive elite level talents at the position. Unless of course they hit the jackpot and stumble on a Russel Wilson type QB who was overlooked.

    Shaub IS good enough to take the Texans to the promise land, look at Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson as recent examples, they were not the caliber player Shaub is. The team as a whole just seems complacent from the coach down to the players. Seemingly satisfied with a 12-4 type regular season. That is what’s holding them back.

  16. Schaub is a very underrated QB at the NFL level, and will also be a strong value pick in most FF leagues.

    This Steeler fan knows that Schaub can play.

  17. youarejealousof6rings says:
    Aug 10, 2013 6:31 PM

    Schaub is the worst Pro Bowl QB ever.

    Um… Vince Young…. I’m not a huge Schaub fan but I’d take a drunken hobo over VY. And Schaub won a Pro Bowl MVP btw.

    patriots420 says:
    Aug 11, 2013 1:15 AM
    The team as a whole just seems complacent from the coach down to the players. Seemingly satisfied with a 12-4 type regular season. That is what’s holding them back.



  18. Of course he has no where near the same experience as shaub. His athletic ability on roll outs and bootlegs is on a whole other level than shaub. If case does not have anyone open down field he could use his legs to get the first down unlike shaub.

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