Gary Kubiak is a pretty deliberate dude. The last big risk he took was probably switching from a razor with two blades to one with three. You never know when that third blade might reach out and cut ya'.
But on Thursday, he did something I don't think many people saw coming. He took a chance on second-year QB Case Keenum, naming him the starter over Matt Schaub, who is out with a leg injury (and likely emotional trauma), and previous No. 2 T.J. Yates, who decided to do his best Schaub imitation in the second half against the Rams and throw his own pick six.
There have been a number of stories written here about Keenum, including our feature story about his college career, injury and struggle to get an extra year of eligibility. He surpassed virtually every throwing record at the University of Houston and has impressed coaches this season despite making the team as an unrestricted free agent before last season.
Keenum may not have a ton of experience, but he has all the physical tools to be a good quarterback in the NFL. He's a natural leader and a student of the game. Now that I got those clichés out of the way, let's focus on the fact that he is being thrown into the fire against perhaps the best defense in football on their home turf, which happens to be one of the loudest stadiums in the world. Not exactly a conducive atmosphere for success.
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But Kubiak's hand was forced when Schaub was ruled out of the game. Yates played terribly last week and all indications are he was chosen as the backup this season over Keenum simply because he had in-game experience.
For fans of Keenum and fans who think the Texans simply need a change, this is a welcome sight. But for everyone who thinks it will be awesome to have a backup -- let alone a third-string backup -- take over, I remind you of people like Bucky Richardson and Cody Carlson and, more recently, Sage "Rosencopter" Rosefels. While there are certainly a handful of notable cases of backups taking over and taking off (Tom Brady chief among them), the odds are high Keenum will fail and they are increased by the fact his first game is at KC.
Still, as Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day said when he finally escaped the hell of repeating the same day over and over, "Anything different is good." At 2-4, the Texans can't really lose. Either they find out Keenum is their future at the QB spot -- or at least a reasonable facsimile -- or he sucks too and you are right back where you started, thinking about the draft and the number of good QBs expected to be available.
Whatever happens, at least it will be something different because, in this season, anything different is good.