March 19, 2018

Texans Going All In With Keenum

Case Keenum will be the talk of Houston until the Texans finally take the field Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The newly named quarterback in Keenum will have his first NFL start at hand with one of the top defenses in the league, and it will be a huge test for a struggling Texans team. The Texans are searching for anything to get this team back in the win column and Gary Kubiak is going against what people thought he was going to do, stick with what he has been doing. Naming Keenum goes against the playing it “safe mode” that Texans followers are accustomed to since Kubiak has been the Head Coach in Houston.


All In

Let’s start off with this from former Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels



The Texans have had their success with quarterbacks making their debut as a starter for the franchise, which could be a good sign for the team heading into this game. Take a look.

Keenum will be the 8th different quarterback to start for the franchise.

In the previous seven starts, the quarterbacks have posted a 6-1 record and a 4-0 record under Kubiak.


Past Texans Starters and First Game Result


David Carr (Win 19-10 vs. Dallas Cowboys)

10/22 for 145 yards, 46% completion rate, 2 Touchdowns, 1 Interception, 78.8 QB rating


Tony Banks (Win 14-10 vs. Carolina Panthers)

13/19 for 154 yards, 68% completion rate, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions, 110.4 QB rating


Dave Ragone (Loss 0-27 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

11/23 for 71 yards, 48% completion rate, 0 Touchdowns, 1 Interception, 36.7 QB rating


Matt Schaub (Win 20-3 vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

16/22 for 225 yards, 73% completion rate, 1 Touchdown, 1 Interception, 101.5 QB rating


Sage Rosenfels (Win 24-17 vs. Oakland Raiders)

11/19 for 181 yards, 58% completion rate, 1 Touchdown, 1 Interception, 85.6 QB rating


Matt Leinart (Win 20-13 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

10/13 for 57 yards, 77% completion rate, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions, 110.1 QB rating


T.J. Yates (Win 20-13 vs. Atlanta Falcons)

12/25 for 188 yards, 48% completion rate, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions, 86.7 QB rating


What Does This Mean For T.J.?

There are two ways to look at it for back-up quarterback T.J. Yates with Keenum being named the starter. First, Yates had this to say:

“As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly happy, but that’s Kubs’ (Gary Kubiak) decision. And I support Case and I’ll do whatever he needs to help him out and try to help this team get a win.”


The Bad for Yates

This could be the end for Yates and his time in Houston as being passed up by the inactive quarterback for the last six weeks is a bit concerning. Yates’ performance last Sunday against the Rams was concerning, especially with the interceptions he had in the red zone in which one resulted in a pick six for the Rams. His growth looks to be the same and sitting on the bench for over 20 games only makes it tougher for him to go and put it together on the field. Apparently, Yates doesn’t give the Texans the best chance to win at this moment and Keenum getting the start makes that clear.


The Good for Yates

On the other hand, having Yates in a familiar position as a back-up could be part of the plan for the Texans. If Keenum falters, it becomes Yates’ game off the bench, the position he is used to. If the roles were reversed, Keenum coming off the bench could be a slight issue with him not being in the flow of the game. Things have not changed for Yates and he is still the back-up quarterback for the Texans, which has been his position for nearly three years.



What Does This Mean for Matt Schaub?

His injury situation has already ruled him out for Sunday’s game and sets him up for nearly two and a half weeks of healing time. There has been no definite word on Schaub’s injury other than saying it was a leg and ankle injury that required injections. If Keenum can get this team back on track, take care of the ball and pull the upset in Kansas City, this could easily derail Schaub’s future in Houston. His injury comes at a time where he has not been playing well and his confidence is obviously shaken. It seems like his teammates’ confidence in their offensive captain is also an issue with the type of losses the Texans have had the past four games.


What Does It Mean for the Texans?

Teammates have shown some rejuvenation.

“He’s been working his butt off. It’s an opportunity he’s been waiting for him. He has it and I’m sure he’ll do well with it.” Andre Johnson 

“He’s a young cat, so he gets real excited out there. I think he brings another element of his legs to the game. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.” Arian Foster 

“Very exciting opportunity for him. I think he’s got what it takes to lead us to victory. He’s worked hard and I think he’s made a big jump from last year to this year. He’s got a lot of talent/ he has a big arm. He’s mobile and looking forward to it.” Duane Brown

“Case just has sort of like an aura about him. When he’s out there, he’s real excited, having fun.” Andre Johnson 

It is apparent the Texans have a new lease on life and are genuinely excited about Keenum being named the starter for Sunday. However, the play on the field will really show what they think of Keenum being named the starter.


What Does It Mean for Case Keenum?

The opportunity is his to lose and his to win the starting job for the remainder of the season. The issue is that no one knows how Keenum is going to react to the situation and if the playbook will have any face lift at all. Keenum has the ability to get the offense back on track with the threat and thought he can bootleg out of the pocket. The threat of that thought will keep the backside defensive end honest and open up cutback lanes in the running game for Arian Foster. Keenum’s skill set fits well in this offense and his mobility and ability to throw on the run will be evident on Sunday. The task will be tough, but Keenum can be the quarterback for the remainder of the 2013 season with a big showing on Sunday against the Chiefs.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.

2 Responses to “Texans Going All In With Keenum”
  1. cartooner says:

    “Yates doesn’t give the Texans the best chance to win at this moment and Keenum getting the start makes that clear.”

    That’s not clear at all. Kubiak is HOPING Keenum gives us the best chance of winning. I feel for Schaub, but he shouldn’t play with a leg or foot less than 100%. As far as Keenum, why not? And I agree having Yates there to clean up the mess if “it factors”, “auras” and luck (#7) doesn’t do the job. I have to admit I am shocked that 1)Kubiak didn’t wait til game day, and 2) picked Keenum over Yates. Maybe he’s not as rigid and stubborn as I thought. Maybe Rick Smith had something to do with it, but I don’t think Bob McNair would meddle in coach’s decisions, he just gives them more rope.
    All in all, I’d love to see either Keenum or Yates emerge as the answer. Sorry, Matt.

  2. Houston Native says:

    I agree that T.J. Yates’s career in Houston has probably come to an end (except as a backup, the second- or even third-stringer for the rest of the season). He is due to become a free agent in 2015. Cutting him after the season would free up only $645,000 of cap space, but no one should be surprised to see him cut.

    In many ways, it is a shame. I admit to be a fan of Yates ever since he led the game-winning drive over the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 11, 2011, and I don’t think he was ever given a fair chance at starting since then. In five regular-season starts, Yates completed 74 of 119 passes (62.2%) for 879 yards–an average per attempt of 7.4 yards (per completion of 11.9 yards). He threw three touchdowns and three interceptions.

    By comparison, Tom Brady completed 99 of 159 (62.2%) in his first five career starts for 1,023 yards–an average per attempt of 6.4 yards (per completion of 10.3 yards). He threw more touchdowns than Yates (7 to 3), but also more interceptions (4 to 3).

    Yates’s nimble footwork, quick release, accurate control, and strong arm were impressive in 2011. Last year he was injured much of the time, and at some point his confidence and perhaps his skills too began to erode (and Kubiak, apparently, began also to lose confidence in him). He entered the game against the Rams under extremely difficult conditions and on a short leash. His two interceptions were admittedly dreadful, and though the first one–the pick-six on the pass intended for Garrett Graham–was at least in part the result of predictable playcalling, the blame rests squarely on Yates. Still, we will never know, now, how he would have fared if he had started a game and been allowed to call the entire playbook.

    I will be laughed at if I say that, once upon a time, Yates seemed to be shaping up as the heir apparent to Matt Schaub. While I still believe he could develop into a franchise quarterback, he will have to do so elsewhere–if he does so at all. Don’t be surprised to see him end up in Denver, first backing up and perhaps then succeeding Peyton Manning.

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