Yates and Keenum: Competing yet again

Yates and Keenum: Competing yet again
October 17, 2013, 9:00 am
Share This Post

T.J. Yates and Case Keenum spent the entire offseason battling for the backup spot behind Matt Schaub. Yates won that competition.

But as the Texans (2-4) prepare to face the Chiefs (6-0) in Kansas City on Sunday, and with Matt Schaub’s status in some doubt, the two are competing again.

This time to start.

“This is nothing new to me and Case,” Yates said on Wednesday after practice. “We did this all preseason long. It’s kind of back to normal for us. But it was fun. We’re splitting first-team reps and we’re also splitting the scout team, so we’re out there getting a ton of reps, running around, being able to kind of go out there and just play football. It was a fun practice.”

Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said it isn’t uncommon for the quarterbacks to split reps on Wednesday but the team likes to taper the reps to the starter on Friday. But it seems like the Texans might not have a decision by then. Head coach Gary Kubiak said Schaub is an end-of-the-week decision and the team doesn’t have to make a decision as to who will start until Sunday.

Schaub’s leg is still swollen and sore and he wasn’t able to practice on Wednesday. If he can’t go, Yates or Keenum will start.

“I think both can lead us to victory,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “Both bring something a little different to the table. We’re going to do our best to protect whoever’s back there and we have all the confidence in the world in both of those guys. We’ll see.”

What’s the difference between the two?

“I like them both,” Andre Johnson said. “Case just has sort of like an aura about him. 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.”

Yates, 26, has been with the Texans since 2011, when – as a rookie – he took over when Schaub went down with a season-ending injury. It was actually Yates who led the franchise to its first-ever playoff victory.

That’s Yates’ biggest advantage: he has more NFL experience. That might go a long way in deciding who will line up behind center in Arrowhead Stadium, one of the loudest buildings in the entire league.

“Yeah, definitely I have a little bit of edge there, being in tight games, being in loud games,” he said. “KC is going to be one of the loudest we play all year. So that’s going to be something that everybody’s going to have to take into account. I’ve been in those situations before so I think that will help.”

Yates came into Sunday’s game against the Rams after Schaub was knocked out. He didn’t play well. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 98 yards and two interceptions; one was returned for a touchdown.

“Maybe. Maybe not,” Yates said when asked if he would be in a competition had he played better against the Rams. “Kubs has kept me and Case (Keenum) in a pretty close competition kind of no matter what either one of us do, even since training camp. Throughout these weeks that we’ve been the backups, he’s always been keeping us in a very good competition. I think it’s good. Keep us both on our toes and always out there competing, just making the best out of it and making each other better.”

While Yates has experience, Keenum seemingly has athleticism on his side. The former University of Houston standout is known for his ability to run the ball as well as throw it. He put up gaudy numbers in college but spent last season on the Texans' practice squad.

Keenum made the 53-man roster this season and competed with Yates for the backup role during training camp. Schaub said he’s been impressed with the way Keenum has picked up the Texans’ offense, which is very different from the one Keenum ran in college.

“It’s really cool,” Keenum said about potentially starting and playing in his first NFL game. “It’s not something I’ve thought about too much, but as far as actually right now in this moment, it’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time, playing quarterback in the NFL and being able to start for a team. In that sense, it’s a dream I’ve had for a really long time.

"I haven’t just worked this week. This isn’t the only week that I’ve worked. I’ve worked my whole life. I’m going to go out and get as much prepared as I can this week and go out and do the best I can on Sunday.”

Texans - Team News
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Johnson doesn't need full practices at this stage of his career. He's a solid WR2 for Sunday's game against the Titans.
Oct 23 4:37PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) said he'd be surprised if he doesn't play in Sunday's game... Clowney hasn't played since tearing his meniscus in Week 1. He says he plans to "push through" the soreness that's still in his knee. If the training staff lets...
Oct 23 11:41AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted he "didn't get it to Andre [Johnson] nearly enough early"... Johnson finished with 5-77-0 on nine targets, but had just one catch for four yards through the first three quarters. After the game, coach Bill O'Brien said that Johnson...
Oct 23 8:03AM Read More
Brian Cushing - LB
Texans ILB Brian Cushing will miss at least one week with a knee injury. It's a blow to an already vulnerable Houston run defense, and a nice upgrade to Bishop Sankey's Week 8 matchup. Justin Tuggle and Mike Mohamed figure to start at inside...
Oct 22 8:32PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps coming off Monday night's loss. He'll remain a WR2 for Week 8 against the Titans.
Oct 22 5:22PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans listed Foster as "not injury related," but he missed practice time last week with a groin issue. Foster has a matchup with the Titans' No. 22 ranked run...
Oct 22 5:15PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
According to HoustonTexans.com, there's a "decent chance" Jadeveon Clowney (knee)... "He feels good," coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "Well see how it goes this week in practice. We'll be able to make a determination pretty soon about whether...
Oct 21 3:58PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham caught two passes for 24 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers. Graham was targeted three times, but dropped the other. It can be considered one of Graham's better statistical games of the season, which obviously means he's nowhere near...
Oct 20 11:31PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught five passes for 77 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins each saw a team-high nine targets. There was nothing special about Johnson's night. His biggest play was a 24-yard grab on a deep in route in...
Oct 20 11:25PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 108 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Hopkins and Andre Johnson each saw a team-high nine targets. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw it to whichever receiver was working against embattled Steelers CB Cortez Allen. ...
Oct 20 11:16PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 14 yards on five carries and caught an 11-yard touchdown in the Texans'... Blue was the vulture on the opening-drive 11-yard score after Arian Foster managed 59 rushing yards to get the Texans near the goal line. Foster is an every-down back,...
Oct 20 11:09PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21-of-32 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception... Fitzpatrick played well for much of the first half, leading the Texans on three consecutive scoring drives to open the game. It was a train wreck thereafter. One play...
Oct 20 10:56PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-23, Week 7 loss to the... Foster got off to a blazing start, rushing for 59 yards on the Texans' 94-yard opening touchdown drive, but was vultured by Alfred Blue for the 11-yard touchdown catch to...
Oct 20 10:47PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is inactive for Monday night's Week 7 game against the Steelers. Clowney's lateral agility wasn't where the Texans wanted it to be in pre-game warmups. He's been out since undergoing knee surgery after Week 1. Whitney Mercilus is...
Oct 20 6:09PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins (hand) is probable for Week 7. The Texans listed Hopkins on the injury report, but his status was never in doubt. He'll be a WR3 for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 18 2:54PM Read More

More Team Talk