Following up on the ongoing story
. ... Case Keenum
, who hasn't played in a meaningful game since he was in college back in January 2012, will start at quarterback for the Texans this Sunday in one of the tougher environments in the NFL.
Keenum will make his first appearance in a regular-season game against the rugged defense of the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, where the fans just set a Guinness record as the noisiest outdoor stadium in the world.
Keenum will start for Matt Schaub, who is out dealing with injuries to his right ankle and foot, and will try to help the Texans snap a four-game losing streak.
So why go with Keenum over T.J. Yates?
'We're struggling, and we're looking for a spark,' head coach Gary Kubiak said. 'I think he deserves an opportunity to go out there. It's a tough place to play. It's a tough place to get your first start and all that good stuff. But I'm not sending him out there by himself. I'm sending him out there with his football team and the guys understand that.'
As ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli notes, Keenum was a record-setting quarterback at the University of Houston before spending last season on the practice squad. The undrafted free agent has played in several preseason games, but hasn't played in a game that counted since leading the Cougars to a 30-14 win over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012.
Keenum said he prepares for practice and preseason games the same way he got ready for games in his college career, so nothing will change for him this week.
'It means just as much to me every rep I take, but obviously the games are definitely different,' he said. 'I guess I can officially say this is the best NFL defense I've ever played, so this is going to be a big test.'
Keenum isn't daunted by the challenge and is used to being the underdog.
'I've had a lot of people tell me I can't do a lot of things. I'm too short or this or that, but you can't believe a lot of that stuff,' said the 6-1 Keenum. 'You just have to be given an opportunity and you have to be ready when you get that opportunity.'
Keenum will face a defense which is allowing a NFL-best 10.8 points a game, leads the league with 30 sacks and has forced 12 more turnovers this season than their opponents, which also tops the league.
'We just want him to go out there and react,' Kubiak said. 'That's the reason he's on this team because of what he's capable of doing when he gets in those situations. He'll get ready to do his part and everybody needs to do theirs.'
Teammates seem to have ample confidence.
"Case just has sort of like an aura about him," Andre Johnson said. "When he’s out there, he’s real excited, having fun. T.J., he just goes out there and plays. He takes more of a business approach to it."
The floundering Texans, losers of four straight games, need that kind of spark and perhaps Keenum is better equipped to provide it.
Bottom line? As Associated Press sports writer Kristie Rieken put it, "The Texans need a jolt right now. They have nothing to lose by making this move.
"What they gain will be worth watching."
I don't disagree with that. But I think expecting any of the receiving threats in Houston to have strong games against the Chiefs with Keenum serving as the trigger man isn't realistic. Of course, the same could be said if Yates were under center.