Fisher's decision to switch to Keenum for Week 11's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday evidently isn't injury-related. Nick Foles simply hasn't performed well enough under center for the 4-5 Rams, despite having the benefit of star rookie running back Todd Gurley in the backfield.
"As I told Case, he doesn't have a short leash. I'm gonna let him play. I'm gonna let him use his legs, and let him make some plays," said Fisher, via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Rams have a playoff-caliber defense that ranks sixth in total yards allowed per contest, yielding just 20.3 points per game. The offense is a different story, as Foles has posted a meager 75.9 passer rating and only 6.56 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun cited one possible reason Fisher made the rather surprising change for the upcoming game against the Ravens in particular:
Regardless of how the opponent factors in, this may be the beginning of the end of the brief Foles era in St. Louis.
In August, the Rams signed Foles to a lucrative two-year contract extension—though the last year of the deal can be voided. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes how St. Louis can get out of the deal by releasing Foles by mid-March:
After ultimately missing on Sam Bradford as their quarterback of the future, it appears the Rams aren't at all sold Foles can be the signal-caller to put them in legitimate championship contention. The Wall Street Journal's Kevin Clark astutely observed how the high-profile trade St. Louis made to improve at its most important position this offseason hasn't quite worked out:
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network spoke to a source who believes the Rams aren't far away from bigger and better things:
To be fair, that's how a lot of NFL teams are. A top-tier quarterback often offsets numerous issues any organization may have. It's a luxury St. Louis hasn't had since the respective, successive heydays of Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger.
Keenum is a former undrafted free agent who saw starting time with the Houston Texans in each of the prior two seasons, posting a career 76.8 passer rating. Although the sample size is small, Keenum's numbers don't indicate he will be much of an upgrade over Foles.
With a more diminutive frame (6'1", 205 lbs) and less arm talent than the man who's been above him on the depth chart, Keenum has his work cut out for him to stay in the lineup. The good news is he faces a Ravens defense that ranks 26th against the pass, albeit it will be on the road at M&T Bank Stadium.