Keenum: Seven Minutes To Midnight

So the impossible happened today. Gary Kubiak makes a move that goes against the grain of what you would have expected from him. There was some foreshadowing…

The “not-a-hater-seriously” crew showed up all over Twitter, but I’ll just leave Manny’s response to them here.

A little love from the old coach.

The Texans are more than halfway to Doomsday. They need a spark. The team has been giving generic or short answers to anything asked of them in the past week. A quarterback going “we” “we” “we” after a particularly awful beatdown. Running back talking about not being able to answer a question about another grown man’s feelings. Questions about confidence level of the guy at the helm being deflected like passes in JJ Watt’s direction in 2012. Despite being criticized about making this point, I thought trotting Schaub out there for the Rams game took whatever air was left in the Texans’ confidence in their leader to make decisions that were in the best interest of his team. The fire doesn’t seem to burn like it did early last year.

This “sudden” turning on Schaub has been in the making for years. Noodle arm, lead foot, moves at a glacial pace. Funny… until you realize they’re true. Sure he occasionally hits Andre 30 yards down the field, where he has to slow down, let the ball catch up to him, then hope the defenders haven’t gotten to him yet. Schaub has been tolerated for a while. Do we have a permanent answer on this team? Unlikely. Nobody thinks Keenum is Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick. This isn’t a Brady for Bledsoe move. It’s Doug Flutie for Rob Johnson.

What Case does give us over Matt Schaub is someone who has excellent pocket awareness. Case seems to be able to feel the pressure coming, has that “internal clock” analysts always associate with the good quarterbacks in the league. Case knows when to escape the pressure. He did it for 9 years at University of Houston (ok 6, it was a joke). He did it this preseason. He definitely didn’t do it last preseason. His detractors could point to last preseason and say “see, he can’t even beat 2nd and 3rd stringers” and last year I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you. The undrafted rookie definitely didn’t look like he belonged out there. What a difference a year makes.

This preseason, the job was TJ Yates’ to lose. TJ didn’t do anything to lose it. While the Coog faithful were disappointed, it was pretty clear TJ was going to keep the job. He didn’t outperform Case, but he didn’t underperform either. Over the past two second halves of football, he has looked completely lost out there. And while under normal circumstances, Schaub is the guy because of experience (and contract), these are no longer normal circumstances. This is an embarassment for Matt Schaub, Gary Kubiak, and Bob McNair. The ox has died trying to ford the Schaub River. The Schaub injury just forced Gary’s hand, and TJ didn’t do himself any favors.

Enter Case.

Despite people trying to kill his mobility, he has some speed. We don’t need him to run for 100 yards. We really don’t need him to run period. He just needs to be able to escape. Something our glacier of a quarterback is not able to do. 3rd and short, no where to throw? Crumblesack. The times Glaciaub tried to run it felt like my DVR was fast-forwarding at half speed (slow-forwarding?)

Case can sense the pressure. Case can escape the pressure. Case can run for a few yards after escaping the pressure.

THAT alone puts him ahead of either quarterback over the past 4 weeks.

Keenum has a decent arm. He’s not gonna throw 80 yards off his knees, but he can target someone down field and actually have a shot of hitting him in stride. He’s not the permanent answer. He’s the quarterback we need right now. He’s the quarterback this team needs right now. It seems players like Duane Brown and Andre Johnson are already reacting and responding to his approach to the game. Duane Brown seems to enjoy Case’s intensity. Andre says there’s some sort of “aura” around Case.

Some will say they’re just saying it because that’s who’s been named the quarterback, so they want to support him.

That support wasn’t there for 8 the past few weeks. Not like this. It may be small, subtle, but the spark is there, and it’s starting to light a fire. Will it be lit by 3PM sunday? That’s to be determined. One thing is for damned sure, Keenum won’t go down without a fight. He’s got the weapons around him to be successful, he just needs to reign everything in and make the offense work for him.

For me, as you can probably assume, a Cougar fan. Win or lose… I don’t think Case disappoints. I am ready to sit in front of the TV for 3 hours and cheer for the guy I got to see amaze me at Robertson Stadium time and time again. I think he rises to the occasion. I think he actually scores a touchdown, maybe multiple touchdowns, and has a better than 1:1 TD/INT ratio.

And no pick sixes.

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