Case Keenum to Make NFL Debut on Sunday Against Kansas City Chiefs

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | With Matt Schaub unable to play this week against the Kansas City Chiefs because of an ankle injury suffered in Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak has decided to give Case Keenum the nod as his starting quarterback.

While relegated to third-string duty and inactive for the season's first six games, Keenum will make his NFL debut against the league's top-rated defense and in one of the toughest (and officially loudest) places to play in Arrowhead Stadium.

T.J. Yates, who has actually won a playoff game for the Texans, was passed over in favor of the second-year undrafted free agent. And one can assume that his performance in replacing Schaub for the remainder of last week's loss resulted in Kubiak's decision here (Yates threw two interceptions, with one being returned 98 yards for a touchdown -- a fifth-straight game a Houston quarterback has done so).

The Texans are currently on a four-game slide, forcing Kubiak's hand in calling Keenum's number.

"We're struggling, and we're looking for a spark. I think he deserves an opportunity to go out there. It's a tough place to play. It's a tough place to get your first start and all that good stuff. But I'm not sending out there by himself. I'm sending him out there with his football team and the guys understand that."

While it may have been inevitable for the hometown kid to lace it up sooner or later for the Texans, facing a Kansas City defense that is coming off three interceptions and nine sacks of Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is certainly not an ideal situation.

Keenum does, however, have the endorsement of Kevin Sumlin, his former college coach at the University of Houston (Sumlin is now the head coach of Texas A&M).

"Everybody has got an idea what a prototypical quarterback looks like. The way the game is played now they come in all sizes and there's no doubt Case has always had the ability to play at a high level, and he was consistent (at UH) in doing so. You don't set the NCAA (passing) record just by luck. He knows what he's doing. He's looking forward to this opportunity and I look for him to take full advantage of it."

Texans' defensive coordinator Wade Phillips went on to compare Keenum to Tony Romo, who coached the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback for parts of four seasons.

"It reminds me a little bit of Tony Romo's story. Hopefully it ends out that way. He's got some moxie. That's what Romo has."

Keenum is going to need more than a little spunk to make a success of his debut against the Chiefs on Sunday. But at the very least, Kansas City is set to give him a large taste of what life as an NFL quarterback is all about.

Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel

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