What is Case Keenum's future?

December, 4, 2013
12/04/13
10:31
AM ET
Time is a virtue not many young quarterbacks have anymore. Case Keenum is lucky in that way.

Keenum
Keenum
One head coach saw enough in him to keep him on the practice squad and develop him for the future in his rookie year and then keep him on the active roster as the third stringer.

Could Keenum be the Texans' starter long term?

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth took a look at four "mystery" quarterbacks -- Keenum, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien and Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin -- to see if they can be a career starter.

Based on his film review, Tanier noted that Keenum is a very good passer on the move, throws a good and accurate deep ball and can stay in the pocket during heavy rushes. On the other hand, he noted that Keenum sometimes reverts to three-quarter-arm throwing, drifts in the pocket to find passing windows because he's so short and has too much faith in his arms and legs sometimes, causing throws off his back foot and ill-advised scrambles.

His conclusion:
Summary: Keenum is a "slow clock" quarterback whose best and worst decisions occur late in the play, when pass routes have developed and the pocket is collapsing. For every downfield throw on the run or rollout bomb to Andre Johnson, there are several plays where Keenum takes a sack, gets hurried, or delivers a throw that should have arrived a split-second sooner.

The Texans' play-action style suits Keenum because it is full of seven-step drops, rollouts and slow-developing pass routes. It is not clear whether that will be the Texans offensive style next year, or how well Keenum would adapt to more of a read-plant-throw system (though he put up big numbers in a quick-trigger system in college). Like many small "pesky pepperpot" quarterbacks, Keenum can be effective in short doses, but low completion rates (54.2 percent) and waning big-play capability in recent games may be signs that the league is figuring him out.

Decision: Maybe. Keenum can definitely stick as a 10-year backup, but there may be more to him than that. He does enough well, and has enough upside, to merit starter consideration.

I tend to agree with the maybe tag. We just don't know yet which direction Keenum's career will take him. Ergo, it would be wise for the Texans to draft a quarterback so they have options.

Options are never a bad thing, even if it means winding up with two starting-caliber quarterbacks on your roster. That's the best of both worlds, really.

Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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