Case Keenum may get his first NFL start on Sunday at Kansas City. The University of Houston alum has come a long way since he first joined the practice squad, according to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
"When we first got him, he wasn't taking snaps from center very well," Dennison said. "Underneath center, he's done a lot of that and obviously understanding the system, but he's a bright kid who works very, very hard."
All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown, who describes Keenum as "a very fiery guy," agrees.
"He's come a long way, a long way," Brown said. "We all knew about his collegiate career and all of the great things he did. He got here and it was a little rough for him, just trying to learn the playbook and getting used to the NFL game. But in a year's time, it's made a huge difference. He's out there and he looks like a pretty good quarterback. He makes some big-time throws out there. Besides that, I really like his demeanor and personality."
Matt Schaub, who suffered an injury in the Texans' 38-13 loss to St. Louis, credits Keenum for grasping an offensive scheme competely different from the one he ran in his collegiate career.
"Case, coming from his past where it was at U of H and the type of offense that they ran and coming into our system and trying to almost do a 180 on how to operate at his position in our scheme," Schaub said. "He's just come such a long way, understanding the run game, understanding the pass concepts, our play-action. It's just so different from his past. He has a huge football IQ and he can make all of the throws. You have those two things and you give him a playbook and he can go out and do it."
Schaub could return for Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium. If not, either Yates or Keenum will be the starting quarterback in Week 7. Should Keenum start, he will have to also adjust to playing in a noisy environment on the road.
"I think operating is going to be a big key to this game, just operation before the snap and getting us into the right plays, dealing with the noise and silent cadence, and putting the ball in the right place," Keenum said. "Managing the game I think is going to be a key this week."
Keenum, who compares the competition this week to the one in preseason between him and Yates, enjoyed the extra practice time for now.
"I got a lot more practice reps and it was fun," Keenum said. "It was fun running our offense and getting ready to play a game. That's how I'm seeing it right now and trying to bring a lot of energy and fun to practice this week and the game. I think today was a good start."