Houston Texans: Is There Real Competition For Backup Quarterback Job?

By Mike Kerns
Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

The thing that I have learned the most about local media outlets in Houston is that they love a story about a hometown guy. The Vince Young obsession back in 2006 was about all I could take as a Houston Texans fan. They’re doing something quite similar right now with Johnny Manziel, but with this team unlikely to be draft highly in 2014, I think (hope!) we’re safe from that story.

With this thought in mind, I have to wonder if all of the reports from training camp about how good practice squad quarterback Case Keenum is just that — a story about the local kid.

I’m a University of Houston guy, so I’m a personal fan of Keenum and I want to see him succeed. But I’ve always been able to separate my Saturdays from my Sundays and once you hit the pro level, I could care less where you played in college, what high school you went to or what city you were born in.

It seems that almost every tweet, guest spot or article about the Texans that aren’t about DeAndre Hopkins or D.J. Swearinger are a mention of how good Keenum is looking and how he could push for the backup role to Matt Schaub this season.

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying what they’re selling.

While I think the current backup, T.J. Yates, is nothing special, there will be no battle for his spot unless he completely implodes or has a devastating injury. Yates has had starts at the NFL level and playoff experience, putting him way above Keenum at this point.

I’m sure they would like to keep Keenum on their practice squad to replace Yates should he leave in free agency in the future, but to think he could leapfrog Yates in a handful of preseason series with the third string players? Not happening.

What I think we will see, however, is Keenum getting the most reps in preseason of any other quarterback on the roster. He’ll get the early looks before Yates, which will help fuel the story that there is an open competition for the job. But in my opinion, the ceiling for Keenum is to make the final 53-man roster as the third-string quarterback.

Even though Gary Kubiak is known for only carrying two quarterbacks on the final roster, Keenum could force his way onto the roster if  he’s lights-out during his opportunities and draws fears that he might get claimed before the Texans can get him stashed on the practice squad. But all of this talk about him passing Yates is just a way for the local media to make training camp and the preseason more interesting.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” his page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also subscribe to his Texans podcast on iTunes.

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