Keenum might throw to Andre during break

Keenum might throw to Andre during break
June 25, 2014, 9:30 pm
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Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) rolls out in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Now that the Texans have wrapped up their spring practices, backup quarterback Case Keenum will spent the next four weeks reviewing the new offense, going over his past mistakes and throwing to live receivers.

One of those receivers might be Andre Johnson, whom Keenum didn’t work with at all this spring at NRG Park. The frustrated Johnson didn’t show up to the team’s spring practices.

So will Keenum call Johnson and try to throw to him over the break?

“Yeah, I might,” said Keenum, breaking into a smile after answering the last question at the Houston Texans Youth Football Camp on Wednesday night.

Johnson is frustrated about losing, something he’s done plenty in his long career in Houston. The Texans went 2-14 in 2013 and Keenum was 0-8 as a starter. But the former University of Houston quarterback clearly enjoys playing with Johnson, who once said Keenum had an “aura around him.”

“Dre is Dre, you know?” Keenum said on Wednesday. “Obviously, he’s done a lot of things around this league, especially here in Houston. And I’m one of his biggest fans. He’s a heckuva player and it’s definitely an honor to step on the field with him. It makes me bring my game up. It makes me want to improve myself and do what I do better. He has that quality to bring out the best in other people and it’s something that I’ve definitely learned from.”

Keenum, 26, is a fan favorite in Houston from his time with the Cougars and Keenum-mania nearly erupted during 2013, when it looked like he was about to take the NFL by storm.

He didn’t win his first three games, but Keenum was good. In his first three starts, Keenum threw for 822 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 105.1. In his next five games, Keenum threw for just 938 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions with a passer rating of 60.

When asked on Wednesday which things he pinpointed as areas he needed to improve, Keenum said he found a lot: mechanics, decision making, managing games and knowing situations. He gave examples: on a 2nd-and-long, he has to know to get half of it on one play and then get the rest on the next. And on a 3rd-and-long, he might have to know to get some yards, punt the ball and flip the field.

“Being smart with my decision making,” Keenum said.

For the second straight year, Keenum will be battling with a teammate for the right to be the Texans’ backup quarterback. Last year, Keenum lost to the more experienced T.J. Yates during training camp. This year, Keenum is the more experienced player vying for that role. Tom Savage, his competition, is a rookie.

But Savage did improve during the spring.

“He gained a tremendous amount this offseason, this spring,” Keenum said. “One thing about the NFL, just calling plays is tough, the verbiage that you have to spit out here and then spit out and know what you’re doing, just the operation of playing quarterback. I think every rookie kind of goes through that learning curve and he’s made some big leaps and bounds.”