The Texans' 2011 campaign ended with a rookie third-string quarterback at the helm, and if you said that's why it ended short of the Super Bowl, you wouldn't be wrong. That rookie, TJ Yates, is now the backup as 2011 No. 2 Matt Leinart moved on in free agency to Oakland. The Texans didn't draft a signal-caller this year, but they did sign University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who put up pinball machine numbers in the Cougars' long tradition of ultra-productive quarterbacks.
For about two weeks, it looked like Keenum could have the No. 3 job all to himself, but the team signed John Beck, who spent the last two years playing for Texans head coach Gary Kubiak's mentor, Mike Shanahan. This signing could be seen as an attempt to avoid the situation the team ended up in last year after Leinart went down.
After listening to Kubiak's latest comments on Keenum and considering Beck's performance last year, it might be a bit early to pencil Beck into that No. 3 job. Nick Scurfield of the Texans' official website reports that Kubiak had nothing but good things to say about Keenum's performance thus far.
Kubiak was impressed by Keenum's quick adjustment to playing under center after spending his collegiate career in the shotgun. He called Keenum "very smart" and a "diligent worker." He even went as far to say that Keenum "has a future" while expressing excitement at the prospect of working with him.
The last time we saw Beck, he was looking timid in the pocket, with more than half of his completions going to running backs in his final game as the starter. Beck remained winless as a starter for his entire career and mustered only a garbage-time touchdown in his final two starts. Any idea that he could improve any team's prospects has to be met with skepticism.
The Texans could try to slip Keenum through to the practice squad, but as their demise illustrated last year, developing a quality No. 3 quarterback can be the difference between a Super Bowl appearance and a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs.
If Kubiak is telling the truth about Keenum's qualities, Houston will be better off letting the journeyman Beck continue his odyssey and keeping Keenum in the town that has witnessed so many of his triumphs over the last five years.