Sean Pendergast

Three Important Case Keenum Questions for Houston Texan Fans

Case Keenum remains immensely popular in the city of Houston.
Case Keenum remains immensely popular in the city of Houston. Screen grab from YouTube
On Wednesday night, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, as the minutes ticked away on the way to a solid Kenny Chesney performance, the workers down on the dirt surface at NRG Stadium prepared for the nightly calf scramble, where dozens of teenagers chase baby cows around the arena in an attempt to secure both the calf and some scholarship money.

One of the traditions of the calf scramble is the rodeo securing the services of a local celebrity to open the gate that allows the baby cows to run onto the field and make themselves available for capture. On Wednesday night, those duties fell to new Houston Texans quarterback and citywide legend, Case Keenum. As you can imagine, the introduction of Keenum led to quite the ovation from the sellout crowd.

Indeed, Keenum being back felt tangible for the first time since his re-signing here was announced on Monday afternoon this week. So now, there are a few important, fan-related questions about Keenum that we need to attack. Here we go:

1. If his jersey is in the team store, how many does he sell?
The last time Keenum was on the team, the Texans had a decent amount of star power, so even with his huge popularity stemming from his collegiate days a decade ago, the Texans had J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, and several others who were crowd favorites. It's different now. We will see if kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn is willing to give up his jersey number 7 for Keenum, and beyond that, see if the Texans actually carry their (presumably) backup quarterbacks jersey in the team store. For what it's worth, I think the only jerseys that would outsell a Keenum jersey would be those for Dameon Pierce, Derek Stingley, Jalen Pitre, and whichever QB they select with the second pick in the draft.

2. As a rookie QB, who would you rather have as a QB mentor, Case Keenum or Andy Dalton?
We know that the first two picks in the draft belong, in order, to the Carolina Panthers and the Texans. Both are highly likely to use their picks on a rookie quarterback. Also, both have signed battle tested veterans as backups and likely mentors for the young signal callers. If you're a young quarterback, would you rather have Andy Dalton (Panthers) or Keenum as your mentor. Give me Keenum, based on largely on his more jagged path to longevity in the league, having been an undrafted free agent early in his career, and having survived the league to where this is his seventh stop in 12 years. I think there is more to learn from Keenum than Dalton.

3. How soon until the Keenum truthers demand he be the starter?
Back in 2013, when the Texans' hopes for Super Bowl contention were coughed up early amidst a slew of pick six interceptions thrown by Matt Schaub, the clamor for Keenum to get a chance to start for the Texans came early and often. In fact, it was Gary Kubiak's inability to settle on Keenum as the starter that the late Bob McNair cited as a reason for firing Kubiak. We know that the Cougar alum and fans in Houston that cross over as Texans fans, as well, will want to see Keenum, if the young rookie QB falters. If I had to guess, Young will get a longer rope from fans than Stroud, based solely on personalities. Stroud seems kind of passive, while Young is a more charismatic leader.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast