Making the Case for Keenum

The former UH STAR could become the number two QB for the Texans this season.

Case Keenum played well against the Dolphins in the Texans' second preseason game. He also had a good game in week one against the Minnesota Vikings. He's been good enough in Texans camp that Keenum might be the team's second-string quarterback to open the season. And this has some people scared.

People like the Houston Chronicle's Jerome Solomon, who said there's a reason that Keenum wasn't drafted, that Kubiak is flirting with disaster for the team and that going with an untested backup for the most important position on the team is insanity. What he's saying is the Texans can't win with Keenum because Keenum is not an NFL-caliber quarterback. And unless the Texans have a tested NFL vet as Matt Schaub's backup, the season is doomed.

The thinking is understandable because there is little chance a team with a lousy backup can win. The Packers are toast if Aaron Rodgers goes down. How good will the New Orleans Saints be if Drew Brees is knocked out for the season? Cowboys fans complain about Tony Romo, but think about how bad the Cowboys will be if he's not around. 

Just because Case Keenum doesn't have pro experience, doesn't mean he can't learn.
Aaron M. Sprecher
Just because Case Keenum doesn't have pro experience, doesn't mean he can't learn.

The fact of the matter is that most NFL teams have awful second-string quarterbacks. How else was Rex Grossman able to stick around so long? Chad Henne's so bad that he can't even beat out Blaine Gabbert in Jacksonville, yet he would be quickly snapped up by some other team to become its backup QB. Hell, Vince Young's even getting another chance, so desperate are the Packers to find someone to fill in for Rodgers. So to worry about the Texans having the inexperienced, undrafted Keenum as the backup to Schaub is reasonable but misplaced.

Sure, he's inexperienced. But Tom Brady was an unheralded second-year, sixth-round draft choice with no regular-season experience when he stepped in for the injured Drew Bledsoe and drove the Patriots to their first Super Bowl triumph. How much experience did the undrafted Tony Romo have when he took over for the Cowboys? Does anyone remember the grinding of teeth in St. Louis when Arena League vet Kurt Warner replaced the injured Trent Green? And how much NFL game experience did T.J. Yates have when he replaced Matt Leinart, who replaced Matt Schaub, and took the Texans to the playoffs?

Tom Brady's current backups are Ryan Mallett, who has thrown exactly four regular-season passes, and Tim Tebow. The backup to Drew Brees is the immortal Luke McCown, the guy who lost a job to Blaine Gabbert. Peyton Manning's backup is someone named Brock Osweiler, and his brother Eli's backup is some guy named David Carr — yes, that David Carr.

Those are the good teams. Think of what the backup QBs are like on the bad teams. And there are other teams out there that don't even have a legit starting quarterback, much less a good backup. The Jags start Blaine Gabbert. The New York Jets are probably giving Matt Sanchez another go at it.

So maybe Case Keenum backs up in Houston. So what if he wasn't drafted. So what if he's on the short side for quarterbacks — Brees is, too. So what if Keenum doesn't have any NFL experience.

There are people who think Keenum isn't good enough to back up Schaub. But unlike Schaub, Keenum can hit a receiver in stride on a deep route, as anybody who watched UH football can attest. And those who would criticize Keenum are probably the same people who said Yates wasn't good enough and who screamed in delight when aging retreads Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia were brought in because Yates didn't have any experience.

Yes, the Texans will be in trouble if Schaub is injured. So will every other team in the NFL if its starter is injured, except for maybe the Jets and the Jaguars, and they stand to be awful anyway.

It's one thing to think that Keenum shouldn't be backup because he's not good enough or because he lacks the talent or the ability to play the position. But his lack of experience or his draft position shouldn't factor into the equation. Arian Foster wasn't drafted, either. And there isn't a single quarterback in the NFL who entered the league with years of experience. Just like Keenum, they had to learn, and maybe now is the time when the former UH QB gets his chance in the pros.
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POLITICAL ANIMALS

HITTING CLOSE TO HOME
FormerPressWriter Detained, Beaten and Released During Egypt Protests.

BY JEFF BALKE

FormerHouston Press writer Mike Giglio, who is now a correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, retold the chilling story of being detained, beaten and ultimately released by Egyptian police during protests in the capital city of Cairo on Wednesday, August 14. Giglio was one of a number of foreign journalists detained along with demonstrators during protests against the current military government, which overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in early July.

In the story he wrote for The Daily Beast on the incident, he tells of being slapped and punched in the face by police because he refused to give up the password for his laptop computer. Stories like Giglio's seem unfortunately commonplace during these kinds of protests, but when it involves someone you know, it really hits home.

Finally the man I took to be the one in charge–a stout older guy in a black beret–stepped in and demanded the password. I apologized again and declined. So he slapped me hard. Asked for the password again, I declined again, and so he slapped me again. At one point there were several cops punching and slapping me in the head, so I relented and typed in the password. They took a special interest in the file labeled Sisi, with basic reporting on the head of the armed forces, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Then they took the laptop away.

Soon after, an angry cop walked up and punched me in the jaw. Eventually another cop grabbed me by the shirt and started perp-walking me over to a waiting blue paddy wagon. He was proudly announcing to the crowd of cops that I was an American, and a couple of times he jabbed me in the face with the hand holding my shirt as he said that.

Giglio was ultimately taken to a sports arena, where he was detained with protesters and several other foreign journalists before he was released. The protests have turned violent over the last month as the military attempts to crack down on demonstrators.

Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt in the incident.

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