At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wednesday night, as minutes ticked by on the way to a solid performance by Kenny Chesney, the workers down on the dirt surface of NRG Stadium got ready for the night’s calf race, where dozens of teenagers chase the boy cows around the arena in an attempt to secure both the calf and some scholarship money.
One of the traditions of the calf scramble is the rodeo which secures the services of a local celebrity to open the gate which allows the cows to run onto the field and make themselves available for the catch. On Wednesday night, those duties fell to new Houston Texans quarterback and city legend, Case Keenum. As you can imagine, Keenum’s introduction drew an ovation from the sold-out audience.
Indeed, Keenum’s return has been tangible for the first time since his new signing here was announced on Monday afternoon of this week. So now, there are some important fan-related questions about Keenum that we need to address. Here we are:
1. If your jersey is in the team shop, how many do you sell?The last time Keenum was on the team, the Texans had a fair amount of star power, so even with his massive popularity stemming from his collegiate days a decade ago, the Texans had JJ Watt, Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins and many others who were crowd favorites. It’s different now. We’ll see if kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn is willing to give up his No. 7 jersey for Keenum, and beyond that, we’ll see if the Texans actually carry their (presumably) backup quarterback jersey into the team store. For what it’s worth, I think the only jerseys that would outsell a Keenum jersey would be those for Dameon Pierce, Derek Stingley, Jalen Pitre, and whichever QB they pick with the second pick in the draft.
2. As a rookie QB, who would you rather have as a QB mentor, Case Keenum or Andy Dalton? We know that the top two draft picks belong, in order, to the Carolina Panthers and the Texans. It’s very likely that both are using their picks on a rookie quarterback. Additionally, both have hired battle-tested veterans as backups and likely mentors for young signal callers. If you’re a young quarterback, you’d rather have Andy Dalton (Panthers) or Keenum as your mentor. Give me Keenum, based largely on his more jagged path to longevity in the league, having been an undrafted free agent early in his career and having survived the league to where this is his seventh stop in 12 years. I think there is more to learn from Keenum than Dalton.
3. How long before Keenum’s supporters ask him to be the owner? In 2013, when the Texans’ hopes for Super Bowl contention were extinguished early amid a string of six interceptions thrown by Matt Schaub, the clamor for Keenum for a chance to start for the Texans came early and often. Indeed, it was Gary Kubiak’s inability to settle for Keenum as the starter that the late Bob McNair cited as the reason for firing Kubiak. We know the Cougar alum and Houston fans crossing over as Texan fans will also want to see Keenum, if the young rookie QB falters. If I had to guess, Young will get a longer string from fans than Stroud, based solely on his personalities. Stroud seems rather passive, while Young is a more charismatic leader.
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