Nick Foles Benched as St. Louis Rams’ Starting QB; Case Keenum Named Starter


The St. Louis Rams shook things up in a way that was unexpected to most on Monday afternoon, as head coach Jeff Fisher announced that Case Keenum will be his starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, with Nick Foles heading to the bench. The 26-year-old Foles, who was acquired this offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford, had started the first nine games of the season for the Rams. Over that time, he completed 56.6 percent of his passes (145 for 256) for 1,678 yards, while throwing for seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

While Foles didn’t have much to work with in terms of receivers–undrafted rookie Bradley Marquez and newly-signed Wes Welker were his most reliable targets in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears–he simply didn’t show a consistent ability to make NFL throws (particularly mid-distance passes to the sideline), and he was not doing enough to allow the Rams’ passing game to succeed. Foles struggled particularly against Chicago, going 17-for-36 (47.2 percent) while throwing for 200 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. In nine games this year, Foles has completed less than 60 percent of his passes on four separate occasions.

Keenum is somewhat of an enigma, as he’s played in 10 games for the Houston Texans over the past two seasons, yet there is still no real consensus on whether he’s a viable NFL starter or not. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has put up OK numbers, completing 55.2 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,195 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. After going 0-8 during his first campaign as a starter in 2013, Keenum led the Texans to wins in their final two games of 2014, so perhaps he’ll grow on that experience and inspire the Rams to a victory. Interestingly, one of those victories last year was against Baltimore, the team that the Rams will face on Sunday.

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As crazy as it sounds, Keenum does have more experience in the Rams’ offense than Foles does, as he was with the Rams from the opening week of the regular season until Week 16 in 2014, at which point the Texans poached him back off the Rams’ practice squad. He was re-acquired by the Rams for a conditional seventh-round pick on March 10, the same day that the Rams made the Bradford-for-Foles deal.

While he expressed confidence in Keenum, Fisher insinuated on Monday, as most in the know would assume, that Foles will eventually be the Rams’ starting quarterback again. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jim Thomas tweeted:

During training camp, before Foles had ever played a down for them, the Rams signed Foles to a two-year contract extension which will pay him a base salary $1.75 million in 2016 and $10.75 million in 2017, with signing bonuses of $1 million in each season and roster bonuses of $6 million next year and $1.5 million in 2017. Considering Foles’ poor play both in 2014 and this season, it will be virtually impossible to get any other team to take on the contract, and the Rams would be set back cap-wise by trying to cut him. Thus, he’s going to get every opportunity to show that he can be trusted as the starting quarterback.

Interestingly, Foles and Bradford’s initial runs with their new teams expired at the exact same time, as Bradford will be sidelined for a while with a concussion and separated shoulder that he suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Next: Rams OG Jamon Brown Out for Season with Leg Fracture

Check out our Rams page for more news and updates, including info about which of the team’s many injured players will be in or out for this week’s game against Baltimore.