If we happened to be examination football with some reduction eager football-watching members of your family on Thanksgiving, we substantially had to explain who accurately Case Keenum was as a Vikings quarterback sliced adult a Lions. Maybe your aunt remembered Keenum from his time in college or your brother-in-law in Los Angeles saw him start a Rams diversion final deteriorate with 35,000 of his friends. Nobody would have looked during a Thanksgiving line-up before a deteriorate and figured we would be articulate about Keenum a following day.
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Here we are, though, and it’s not to speak about a 29-year-old as a peep in a pan. Keenum has been one of a many fit and effective quarterbacks in football this season, and yet we competence design a actor with Keenum’s lane record to cold off after a few games, he is indeed removing hotter. Two weeks ago, a Houston product dominated conflicting Washington before throwing dual late picks, that led to conjecture that Teddy Bridgewater would shortly retrieve his starting role. In a dual games since, Keenum has thrown for 562 yards and 3 scores yet an interception, good for a 110.0 passer rating and an opponent-adjusted QBR of 89.2.
With each week Keenum continues to play during a high level, it seems some-more and some-more approaching that a once-undrafted giveaway representative will be means to keep personification this good for a residue of a season. Keenum has spin one of a many fascinating stories of this NFL season, and his opening hurdles or clarifies a lot of a theories you’ll hear to explain maestro football. Even if Keenum does tumble behind toward a container and give approach to Bridgewater, there’s a lot to learn about a football star from his purpose on a 9-2 Vikings team.
Let’s run by a few of a Keenum arguments here before we take a demeanour during his future, both inside and outward Minnesota.
It’s revelation that a dual biggest quarterback surprises of a 2017 deteriorate were on a same organisation final deteriorate and didn’t play unequivocally well. Keenum began his 2016 debate as a starter for a Rams before giving approach to initial altogether collect Jared Goff. Keenum was mediocre, and Goff was worse. The disproportion in their total numbers from 2016 to 2017 is truly staggering:
There isn’t many of a reason to cruise that Keenum and Goff were put in position to attain by Jeff Fisher’s coaching staff. Keenum’s descent coordinator with a Rams in 2015 was Frank Cignetti, who had presided over low beginnings to a careers of Aaron Brooks and Alex Smith before unwell to urge Sam Bradford amid injuries. Cignetti was transposed in 2016 by Rob Boras, a team’s parsimonious ends coach, who hadn’t called plays given he served as a descent coordinator for a below-average UNLV offense in 2003. The quarterbacks manager in that two-year widen was NFL maestro Chris Weinke, who formerly worked during a IMG Academy and hadn’t coached for a organisation during a college or maestro level.
Things are conflicting this season. Goff’s dermatitis underneath new manager Sean McVay in Los Angeles is positively no secret. In Minnesota, though, Keenum has succeeded underneath descent coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was overmatched as a conduct manager in Cleveland. As an descent mind, however, Shurmur’s résumé includes 7 years as a quarterbacks manager with Andy Reid in Philadelphia, a earnest entrance deteriorate with Bradford in St. Louis and 3 years as a coordinator of an above-average offense underneath Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. Quarterbacks manager Kevin Stefanski, meanwhile, has survived several coaching changes in Minnesota and coached scarcely each position on offense for a Vikings over a past 5 years, that is a tellingly singular new story for a positional coach.
Investing in infrastructure is substantially improved than throwing income during a request of a passer
Keenum wasn’t accurately a rarely fascinating quarterback on a free-agent marketplace this offseason. He finished adult signing a one-year, $2 million understanding with a Vikings to offer as a primary backup behind Bradford until Bridgewater returned, during that indicate Keenum would presumably have spin a third quarterback. You don’t need me to tell we that Keenum is creation reduction than a immeasurable infancy of starting quarterbacks, yet with $1 million guaranteed during signing, Keenum wasn’t even creation good backup money.
Quite clearly, Keenum was a best maestro quarterback signing of a offseason. Elsewhere, teams with a probable hole underneath core sealed bigger-name options such as Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, Jay Cutler and Mike Glennon, a latter of whom will cost a Bears $18.5 million before he is released. Keenum had comparatively identical statistics to those of a improved options within that organisation over a past 5 seasons, yet he usually wasn’t taken as seriously.
The Vikings benefited, in a way, by gripping their bill low. They didn’t spend a ton of income to go after a backup, given Bradford’s $18 million tip hit, and a millions of dollars they saved by going after Keenum as opposite to McCown, Cutler or Glennon went elsewhere on their roster. The premiums teams compensate for an even reduce tier of backup — guys such as Matt Cassel and Matt Schaub — are still some-more than what Minnesota paid for Keenum, and those quarterbacks are destroyed on a field.
General manager Rick Spielman took a some-more than $23 million a Vikings had on their tip for Adrian Peterson and Matt Kalil final deteriorate and practical it to descent line upgrades. Minnesota sealed a span of new tackles in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers, who cost $13.6 million on a Vikings’ tip this season. Minnesota also finally nailed a midround breeze collect by nabbing Ohio State core Pat Elflein, who has started from day one and looks to be a franchise’s long-term inheritor to John Sullivan.
With an descent line and a span of blossoming immature receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, a Vikings gave Keenum all he indispensable to succeed. Look during how quarterbacks such as Derek Carr and Dak Prescott excelled final deteriorate in likewise accessible situations before holding a step behind this deteriorate as their infrastructure crumbled. Keenum has left a conflicting route.
If you’re going to take a navigator on a quarterback, don’t demeanour for a same arrange of antecedent you’re chasing with a initial altogether pick
The fad a Bears — and others — had around Glennon was that he looked like a accurate arrange of quarterback teams wish to squeeze entrance out of a draft: a high (6-foot-6) slot passer with “A-plus arm talent.” Never mind his below-average correctness during both a college and maestro levels or a intermediate pouch rates he posted with a Buccaneers, issues a Bears could lessen usually by carrying him chuck a league’s second-shortest passes (an normal of 6.11 atmosphere yards per throw) before he was benched.
The problem with going after guys with Glennon’s arrange of earthy antecedent is that quarterbacks who demeanour and chuck like Glennon and also can play quarterback during a high spin roughly always are drafted with one of a initial picks. They don’t tumble to a third round. They don’t get benched after dual years for Josh McCown, and if they’re unequivocally trustworthy authorization quarterbacks, a organisation that has them doesn’t breeze another quarterback with a initial altogether pick. Glennon was given each probability to attain given he looks like an jaunty CEO.
If you’re going to find a quarterback outward a normal places teams find quarterbacks, you’re substantially improved off looking for someone with talent who doesn’t fit a common mold. Russell Wilson fell to a third spin given he is 5-foot-11. Tyrod Taylor is 6-foot-1. Prescott is 6-foot-2 yet came out of a run-heavy widespread intrigue in school. His predecessor, Tony Romo, was a 6-2 small-school product who succeeded with an unteachable character of fluctuating plays. There will be exceptions, yet even Tom Brady had to drastically urge his arm strength during a rookie deteriorate on a sidelines before he emerged as a viable quarterback.
Keenum is 6-foot-1, subsequent a 6-foot-2 smallest some teams place on quarterback prospects. He didn’t have a clever arm entrance out of Houston, where he ran a widespread attack. Keenum was accurate and outperformed a other quarterbacks on his several rosters in 3 of his 4 pro seasons with suggestive reps, yet teams start from a notice that players who demeanour and chuck like Glennon will attain and players who demeanour and chuck like Keenum will fail.
With that in mind, yet it still competence make clarity to go after a man who looks like Matt Ryan or Carson Wentz if you’re drafting with one of a initial few selections, as those players come off a board, you’re improved off looking for talent before distance or arm strength.
The thought that there aren’t 32 good NFL quarterbacks is overstated
Nobody would have pronounced that Keenum was an upper-echelon starter before this season. If anything, they would have reason adult Keenum’s 24 pro starts as explanation that there weren’t adequate good quarterbacks to go around in a NFL. Yet here we are in Week 12, and Keenum ranks second in Total QBR and 10th in passer rating by 10 games and 330 pass attempts. If he isn’t a good quarterback, he certain is doing a disagreeable impersonation of one.
You competence disagree that Keenum is in a good conditions to attain given a peculiarity of his invulnerability and his receivers, and I’d agree. If Keenum can demeanour like a Pro Bowler in that context, though, we need to change a approach we speak about scarcity. Instead of observant that there aren’t 32 good quarterbacks to go around, we should be observant that there aren’t 32 good situations for quarterbacks during any given time in a NFL.
As I’ve mentioned in a past, we — NFL executives and fans comparison — overreach a believe of and ability to director quarterbacks. Before a season, how many people would have pegged Goff and Keenum to demeanour like top-10 quarterbacks? Would we have given adult on Goff after dual years if a Rams hadn’t dismissed Fisher and brought behind their gloomy descent infrastructure? If a Cowboys had successfully traded adult for Paxton Lynch, Prescott competence be a backup behind Kirk Cousins in Washington with 6 pass attempts to his name. There are guys sneaking on benches or struggling right now who will infer themselves to be useful NFL quarterbacks. We usually don’t know who they are until they get a opportunity.
Can Keenum win a Super Bowl?
Sure, a Vikings are 9-2 and outrageous favorites to win a NFC North. With Aaron Rodgers harm and a Vikings branch divided Matthew Stafford Co. in Detroit on Thursday, Minnesota is a 98.2 percent favorite to win a North for a second time in 3 seasons. It’s tough to suppose that anyone would have believed a Vikings able of winning a multiplication with a quarterback like Keenum, including a Vikings themselves, given that they traded a first-round collect to acquire Bradford final year once Bridgewater went down in lieu of branch things over to a actor of a extraction identical to Keenum’s in Shaun Hill.
It seems absurd to take things a step serve and suppose Keenum holding adult a Lombardi prize on Minnesota’s home territory in February, yet a thought that there’s a cutoff indicate among quarterbacks when it comes to winning a Super Bowl usually isn’t upheld by history. It’s one thing that Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl with a historically good invulnerability of a 2000 Ravens. It’s another to cruise of Eli Manning winning with a 2007 Giants during a deteriorate in that he led a NFL in interceptions and had a invulnerability that finished 13th in DVOA. Or to cruise of Joe Flacco winning a pretension in 2012 with a league’s 19th-ranked invulnerability by DVOA.
Both of those defenses played improved during a playoffs, and their particular quarterbacks put together intense stretches of play in January. And that’s all it is. Any quarterback can win a Super Bowl if he gets some assistance from his invulnerability and gets prohibited for a three- or four-game widen in a postseason. The ideal postseason run would demeanour a lot like how a Vikings have achieved a entirety of a season, and Keenum has been on a two-month prohibited streak.
Of course, a probability exists that a Vikings make a low playoff run yet Keenum underneath center. It has seemed approaching for weeks now that a Vikings will eventually spin behind to Bridgewater. When Keenum threw those dual late interceptions to put a lead in doubt conflicting Washington, manager Mike Zimmer seemed to take his time and cruise a change before announcing Keenum as a starter a following week.
I’m not certain there’s a clever box to insert Bridgewater as a starter right now, and that’s entrance from someone who loves Bridgewater and thinks he’s a authorization quarterback. It’s not as if creation a change to Bridgewater would transparent some new stylistic or schematic possibilities for a Vikings in a approach that, say, swapping Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick worked for a 49ers or Patrick Mahomes for Smith competence work for a Chiefs. Keenum and Bridgewater are both going to attain with their correctness during a responsibility of extrinsic arm strength while regulating their footwork and instincts within a slot to equivocate large hits.
At a same time, Keenum is doing a improved pursuit of personification a Bridgewater purpose than Bridgewater ever did in his NFL career. Keenum’s numbers conflicting a house in 2017 — quite his remarkably low pouch rate — tip Bridgewater’s outlines before a ripped ACL. While it’s satisfactory to contend that Bridgewater possesses some-more upside than we would have approaching Keenum to reason before a season, a best-case unfolding for a Bridgewater debate in 2017 would demeanour a lot like what we’re saying from Keenum right now.
Given how he has played, it seems satisfactory for a Vikings to give Keenum both a pursuit and a reasonable control on his role. He shouldn’t be one bad diversion or one bad pass from being benched, yet it seems satisfactory to give Bridgewater a curtsy if Keenum pieces together a integrate of common performances. If a Vikings close themselves into a playoff berth by Week 17, it would seem judicious to name Keenum a postseason starter and give Bridgewater a final diversion of a deteriorate conflicting a Bears to get lax in box he’s indispensable during a playoffs.
Will a Vikings re-sign Keenum?
Perhaps many fascinating of all is what comes next. All 3 of a Vikings’ quarterbacks are due to spin unlimited giveaway agents after a season, and there’s no transparent favorite among a 3 as to who competence come behind for 2018. Bradford played good given a resources final season, and yet his knee competence give a Vikings postponement in handing out a long-term deal, Minnesota competence be fair to a short-term deal. Bridgewater was an organizational favorite before his possess knee damage and would approaching come cheaply, given a blank years on his résumé. And given how Keenum has played, because wouldn’t a Vikings cruise giving him a lift and locking him in for a subsequent year or two?
Most teams would adore to have these sorts of problems and cruise a emanate of infrastructure for a Vikings creates it reduction critical for them to re-sign any of these guys. They don’t need a ton out of their quarterback to win, and they’ve managed to attain over many of a past 3 seasons with 3 guys who were possibly neglected by many of a joining or unfortunate acquisitions usually before a deteriorate started. (Their one gloomy stretch, a second half of 2016, came as a invulnerability declined.)
I wouldn’t contend a Vikings can block anybody in during quarterback and succeed, yet as prolonged as a coaching staff, a invulnerability and a descent line are here to stay, Minnesota competence be improved off opting for low-cost, high-accuracy options during quarterback and regulating a assets to re-sign destiny giveaway agents such as Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter. If that means giving Keenum a lift to $7.5 million per deteriorate or signing Bridgewater to a team-friendly extension, that seems smart. If it means importing a maestro (and probable giveaway agent) such as Alex Smith or Tyrod Taylor who competence be peaceful to take reduction income in hunt of a ring, that could work too.
As for Keenum, he has positively graduated from below-level backup income to a top tier of backups, that should put him in a $6 million to $7 million per deteriorate operation this offseason. What comes subsequent will establish either he goes any higher. The joining motionless a prolonged time ago that Keenum was approaching to destroy as a pro, and he spent many of his time in a NFL confirming that belief. Now that he’s succeeding, he’ll have to infer a accord wrong time and again before he gets his chance. Even if Keenum isn’t this good a rest of a way, he should land on a pillow of life-changing income when he falls behind to earth.