As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday afternoon, the St. Louis Rams have claimed quarterback Case Keenum off waivers from the Houston Texans. The third-year signal-caller was released yesterday after the Texans acquired quarterback Ryan Mallett from the New England Patriots.
Keenum basically is a more seasoned version of incumbent Rams backup Austin Davis. Both quarterbacks were prolific college players at mid-major schools but went undrafted because they were viewed as undersized “system quarterbacks”. Keenum, who played in the same Kevin Sumlin offense at Houston that allowed Johnny Manziel to thrive as a collegiate player at Texas A&M, is the -time NCAA leader in career completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards, and total touchdowns. He’s also second -time in career pass attempts.
After spending his rookie year working his way up on the Texans’ practice squad, Keenum made the active roster in 2013, and after poor performances from the Texans’ top two quarterbacks, Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates, Keenum was given the keys to the offense and ended up starting eight games. With as many issues as Houston’s offense had during the second half of 2013, Keenum was pretty solid, completing 54. percent of his passes for ,760 yards and throwing for nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
This offseason, though, the Texans brought in head coach Bill O’Brien, who prefers big, powerful quarterbacks, making the 6-foot-, 205-pound Keenum an afterthought. O’Brien brought in 6-foot-, 223-pound Ryan Fitzpatrick, drafted 6-foot-4, 228-pound Tom Savage, and traded for the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Mallett, and suddenly Keenum was out the door.
It should be interesting to see if the Rams keep Davis on their active roster following Keenum’s signing. You’d think that with only three days of practice, Keenum would need more time to learn the offense, and therefore it would be pretty risky to have him as the primary backup to Shaun Hill in Week . So in likelihood, Davis and Keenum will coexist on the 53-man roster for at least a little while. Tight end Justice Cunningham, who is out for several weeks with a high ankle sprain, would seem to be a prime candidate to lose his 53-man roster spot. In addition, this signing may spell the end for quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who was signed to the practice squad Monday after being released this weekend.