A season that began with high expectations has turned into a season of waste. Or has it?
After last year’s 12-4 record and playoff loss to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the team had high hopes for 2013. Over halfway through this NFL season the Houston Texans are already looking to limp to the finish and move onto the next.
2013 started off as expected with wins against the San Diego Chargers and division opponent Tennessee Titans, but they have since lost seven straight. In the midst of that losing streak a number of unpleasant things have transpired: a discontented JJ Watt, the birth of the pick-6 burger, and a mini-stroke courtesy of Gary Kubiak. Fans are asking questions about the future of their beloved team and they may have an answer…
If you’re a follower of football you know of the kid. If you’re a follower of football in Houston then you know the kid very well.
Born in Houston a mere 25 years ago, he’s never left. After receiving no scholarships to play quarterback after high school except from his hometown University of Houston, he no choice but to stay home. After five total years playing at the collegiate level and breaking NCAA passing records, Keenum went undrafted in the 2013 NFL draft, but was soon swiped up by, who else, the Houston Texans. How does an NCAA record breaker go undrafted?
Where should we start? He was a product of the spread-system in use at The University of Houston. He has below-average size (6-1, 205) for an NFL quarterback. How about inadequate arm strength? Those are what scouts said about him, but as we look at current NFL starting quarterbacks we can find many that fit that description. Guys like Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Alex Smith have all overcome those odds in the NFL–whether it was the system they were groomed in, their size or lack of arm strength.
After three NFL starts Keenum hasn’t allowed those views affect him. Known as a spark plug in the huddle, he’s off to a terrific start throwing for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and 822 passing yards. Keenum has yet to record a win, but has kept the team close; the last three losses have been by a combined seven points. However, Kubiak isn’t exactly ready to call the second-year pro from Houston the future: “He has to continue to play well to stay in there.”
Kubiak will return to coach the team this weekend as the Texans play host to the Oakland Raiders, and it’s a perfect chance for Keenum to earn his coach’s trust. Two weeks ago Nick Foles passed for a record-tying seven touchdown passes against a weak Raiders secondary, and now it’s Keenum’s turn.
Does the former Abilene High School stand-out have what it takes to grasp the opportunity that’s been given to him? I believe so.
This weekend the case for Keenum will be made in Houston.
~ Tyler Olson, Sidelines Analyst