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Case Keenum Deserves to Start for Texans over T.J. Yates

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 29:  Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 8, 2017

Houston Texans fans actually cheered when slumping quarterback Matt Schaub sustained an apparent right ankle injury Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

Then, they realized that backup T.J. Yates wasn't going to be the equivalent of Tim Tebow circa 2011-12.

Here comes the Case Keenum hype.

As Schaub suffered an injury and Yates threw two interceptions in the embarrassing 38-13 loss Sunday, Keenum remained stuck on the inactive list.

The former University of Houston star, who went undrafted in 2012, has been garnering Tebow-like buzz this season while Schaub has done his best Eli Manning impersonation. Beyond being a Texas native, Keenum also performed well in the preseason, going a combined 43-of-63 for 482 yards while tossing three touchdowns to no interceptions.

Aug 25, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) attempts a pass during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, the 6'1", 205-pounder doesn't have great size for an NFL quarterback and his arm strength is mediocre. In that sense, I could see why Texans head coach Gary Kubiak would be reluctant to throw the 25-year-old out onto the field.

With that being said, the time has come.

It took Yates all of five pass attempts Sunday to throw a pick-six, which, by the way, was returned 98 yards by Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree

It was the Texans' fifth straight game with a pick-six—an NFL record—according to ESPN Stats & Info:

It took Yates just four more pass attempts to record his second interception of the game. This time, it came with the Texans in the red zone. 

Yates finished 12-of-17 for 98 yards while tossing two interceptions and no touchdowns.

If you care about quarterback rating, he posted a rating of 45.3. If you don't care about quarterback rating, well, you saw it with your own two eyes. In place of "45.3" on the box score, it may as well have been labeled "BAD."

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 13:  T.J. Yates #13 of the Houston Texans reacts after a play in the second half against the St. Louis Rams at Reliant Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Who knows? Keenum could fuel his critics if he gets the start next week against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Heck, he may even throw another pick-six in that environment.

But one thing's for sure: Keenum's decision-making and leadership skills were praised before the 2012 draft. At this point, it's hard not to trust him more than Schaub and Yates.

With Schaub nursing his injury and Yates proving he's not the man for the job, Keenum stands out as the best option right now.

For better or for worse, the 2-4 Texans should give Keenum a shot moving forward. They have nothing to lose at this point.

 

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