Case Keenum will start Thursday

HOUSTON -- The final preseason game of the season is a time for the Texans to hone their 53-man roster and resolve various competitions on their depth chart.

Backup quarterback is among them.

To that end, Texans coach Bill O'Brien announced today that quarterback Case Keenum will start Thursday against the San Francisco 49ers with rookie Tom Savage relieving him at some point. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick will dress, O'Brien said, and might play if a situation arises in which O'Brien wants to get him some work, but Savage and Keenum will take a vast majority of the snaps.

It will be like that at various positions, as it usually is in this final preseason game. What might be considered a throwaway to viewers who won't recognize a lot of the names, matters a lot to the players fighting for roster spots.

Keenum and Savage aren't exactly competing for roster spots. O'Brien stopped short of saying he would definitely keep three quarterbacks on his 53-man roster, but said that was "more than likely." Asked if the three quarterbacks he kept would be the three that are now with the team, O'Brien used the same language. He noted the time each player has spent with the team as being valuable to their worth to the Texans.

One of those two players will go into the regular season as the declared backup.

Of course, the same thing happened last season and didn't mean much. T.J. Yates was named the backup with Keenum staying inactive for the first six games of the season. Yates, though, had less than half a game of action once Matt Schaub went down with an injury before former coach Gary Kubiak named Keenum Schaub's official replacement.