The Case for Case: 7 Plays That Justify Case Keenum Staying The Texans Starter
Now, in Texans colors.
"I've got to sit down and look at our situation and what's going on right now. Obviously, Matt's our starting quarterback. Case (Keenum) play this week because Matt wasn't healthy. Case went in and played extremely well. I'm going to sit down, we're on a bye week, I'm going to evaluate where we're at as a team and move forward from there. So I'm going to do that everywhere, not just at the quarterback position, I'll do that at every place." -- Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, at his Monday press conference
For grins, let's start at a place where we actually take Gary Kubiak at face value in what he's saying above. Let's assume that Case Keenum's 271-yard, catastrophic-mistake-free performance in Kansas City on Sunday left Kubiak unmoved, and that Matt Schaub's error-laden, plodding style is "exactly what this team needs."
Let's assume that Gary Kubiak is perfectly comfortable with Texan fans booing their own starting quarterback out of the building in two weeks, and that he's moderately intrigued by what Reliant Stadium would smell like if it were burned to the ground.
(For the record, I don't believe Kubiak truly thinks that Schaub is the best choice. I think Kubiak deep down knows that the "obvious" decision is to play Case Keenum again on Sunday, November 3. And the week after that, and the week after that. And I think that's what will happen.)
Let's pretend that I'm an attorney and that I have to provide evidence that Case Keenum is the Texans' best option.
Let's also pretend that I can't just point at the box score and say, "Here's why Case should start," because in theory that should be enough. It should be enough that his passer rating of over 110 was the highest all season against that undefeated Chiefs defense. It should be enough that Case Keenum had more passes of 20 yards or more on Sunday (six) than Matt Schaub had over the previous four weeks (five).
That's the previous four weeks combined.
But let's pretend for a second that the judge wants video evidence. Video evidence that Case Keenum is precisely what Schaub isn't -- a player with a few specific physical things he does at an above-average level, where when players around him are struggling or failing, he can pick up the slack and make a play.
In short, we need video evidence that there were a few times Sunday where we said, "Thank God, Case Keenum was our quarterback on that play, and not Matt Schaub, 2013 version."
Here is that evidence from Sunday's game (A few of these were unable to be embedded on YouTube because the Roger Goodell sucks, so those plays are hyperlinked.):
1. 1st quarter, 11:20 remaining, 1st and 10, incomplete deep pass to Garrett Graham
I know this was an incomplete pass, and before Matt Schaub was shellshocked into becoming the next Craig Whelihan it was a throw he made many times, but here Keenum is under pressure on this throw and is able to plant and throw, accurately and quickly without having to really step into the throw. It was a message sent early that the Texans would stretch the field, which is funny considering they hadn't been able to get off a deep ball in over a month.
2. 1st quarter, 2:03 remaining, 1st and 10, 42 yard pass and run to DeVier Posey
Keenum's super-quick release was the difference maker here, as well as his ability to thread the ball through some clutter at the line of scrimmage. It allowed Posey to make a play before the defense could react to his pattern.
3. 2nd quarter, 15:00 remaining, 3rd and 3, 29 yard deep ball to DeAndre Hopkins for touchdown Schaub hasn't made a deep ball throw over the top to a player in stride since....
4. 3rd quarter, 15:00 remaining, 1st and 10, Keenum scrambles for 9 yards
Schaub hasn't scrambled for nine yards since....
5. 3rd quarter, 11:35 remaining, 1st and 10, 29 yard pass and run to Garrett Graham to KC 1 yard line Another play where Keenum does a nice job of looking down the field, seeing there's nothing there, avoiding the chaos in the pocket, buying time and flipping it to his safety valve Graham, who takes advantage of the Chiefs linebacker overplaying him to make some yards after the catch. One more yard and it's a touchdown, and you could make a case that the Texans win that game.
6. 3rd quarter, 6:07 remaining, 1st and 10, 42-yard bomb to Andre Johnson If this were a court of law, this would be where Keenum's attorney rests his case. I have zero doubt that if Schaub were quarterback, this play ends with him flaccidly flinging the ball into the bench area the second he gets outside the tackle box. ZERO. DOUBT.
7. 4th quarter, 13:38 remaining, 2nd and 10, 35 yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins out of Texans end zone
The second of two straight throws from the end zone, a rare moment of non-conservativity from Kubiak (See, Gary, taking chances works!), and a nice example of Keenum's cool under pressure. Also, an example of how overrated the "height concern" is with Keenum, as the line is pressed right up on him, and he sees right over the top to hit Hopkins.
I'm not going to say, "I rest my Case," because that would be corny.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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