Houston's Keenum to start against Jaguars

Houston's Keenum to start against Jaguars
November 18, 2013, 6:19 pm
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Houston Texans' Matt Schaub (8) and Case Keenum (7) look up at the scoreboard during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

(APWF)

HOUSTON (AP) Texans coach Gary Kubiak is sticking with Case Keenum as his starter despite pulling the quarterback late in Houston's latest loss.

Keenum will start on Sunday as the Texans try to snap a franchise-record eight-game skid at home against Jacksonville on Sunday.

''I've got total confidence in him,'' Kubiak said.

But on Sunday against Oakland, he pulled Keenum for Matt Schaub late in the third quarter of a loss to the Raiders after the Texans were forced to punt on each of their first three possessions of the second half. Schaub struggled early this season and hadn't played since Oct. 13, after he was benched following an injury.

Keenum, an undrafted free agent who spent last year on the practice squad, has thrown for 992 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception in four starts.

Kubiak isn't worried that yanking Keenum from the game will affect his confidence.

''No. Actually, I think I was really thinking of him to be honest with you,'' he said. ''I've been in this league a long time and dealt with a lot of quarterbacks. I'm trying to develop one right now. Right or wrong, I made that decision because of the situation I thought I was fixing to put a young player in ... that's why I do what I did. He knows that. I talked to him about that.''

Keenum didn't seem worried about the move on Monday.

''He told me the reasons it happened and it's not a big deal,'' Keenum said.

Kubiak said he decided to bring in the veteran Schaub because he thought he would be more equipped to handle the way he planned to call the game in the fourth quarter and he doesn't regret the decision.

''Yeah, I'd do it again because of why I did it,'' Kubiak said. ''Was it the right (decision)? Yeah, because I think at that time, that's what I wanted to do as a coach. I knew what I was fixing to do calling the game and I didn't want to put a young guy in a bad situation ... so I made that decision to go with Matt.''

Kubiak said he spoke with both quarterbacks on Monday and explained his decision-making to them.

Schaub, the 32-year-old who has started for the Texans since 2007, was understandably unhappy with Keenum keeping the starting job.

''Matt is the same every day,'' Kubiak said. ''He wants to play. He wants to get back out there and play on a regular basis. That's been no difference from that standpoint. It just would have been nice if we could have finished the deal yesterday.''

Sunday was Kubiak's first game back after missing a game recovering from a mini-stroke. He coached from the booth on advice from his doctors, and didn't like it at all. He said on Monday that he isn't sure if they'll force him to coach from there again this week.

Along with dealing with his health issues, Kubiak is also fielding questions about his job security after the Texans were expected to contend for a Super Bowl, but instead have devolved into one of the AFC's most disappointing teams.

''I could feel a lot better. I know that,'' he said. ''I'm just one of many people. Every player, every coach, it has been very difficult. It's tough on the organization, everybody, our fans. I feel a lot like everybody else, but I'm the guy that has got to get in there and figure out a way for us to work through it and that's what I'm trying to do.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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