In a move that was destined once the Houston Texans traded for Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum has been released. This is sure to inspire a passionate reaction, from both ends of the spectrum, from the Houston fan base.
As expected, Ryan Mallett's arrival necessarily foretold Case Keenum's departure. Mark Berman makes it official:
Texans waive quarterback Case Keenum— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 31, 2014
As polarizing as he became, Case Keenum was a great story. He was a record-setting quarterback at the University of Houston. Undrafted by the NFL, Keenum caught on with the Texans, first on the practice squad and then on the 53-man roster. Keenum looked legitimately good during the 2013 preseason; there was a real question whether he or T.J. Yates would be Matt Schaub's primary backup last year. Then the 14-game slow-motion recreation of the Titanic sinking that was the Texans' 2013 season happened.
After Matt Schaub got hurt and Yates looked awful in relief of him, Case Keenum got his chance. In his first NFL start, on the road against the Chiefs, Keenum looked surprisingly adequate. In his first home start, against the Colts on Thursday Night Football, he looked simply phenomenal for a half, playing QB better than anyone had for Houston for more than a year. Unfortunately, that first half would prove to be Keenum's high point.
As teams got more film on him, they realized Keenum had severe shortcomings that could be exploited, particularly when it came to handling pressure. Keenum had an awful and inexcusable habit of turning his back to the pass rush and actually running backward at times. Needless to say, things got ugly.
Throughout the 2014 preseason, Keenum struggled. He never really looked comfortable or in control of Bill O'Brien's offense. That's not to say Tom Savage looked like a world-beater either, but Savage is a rookie and Keenum's not. There was debate whether Keenum even merited a roster spot this year, with many thinking the Texans could and should do better at QB2, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting.
Clearly, the Texans felt like they could improve over Keenum; hence, the acquisition of Ryan Mallett today. Once that happened, Keenum's fate was sealed.
Although Keenum's departure is likely to be met with pronounced joy by some and significant disappointment by others, here's wishing him the best as he tries to consider his football career elsewhere. Thanks for the memories, Case.
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