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The Bills Wanted Case Keenum At QB2 And It’s A Good Thing

Bills backup quarterback, Case Keenum had a rough half in his pre-season debut with the team but is he still the guy for the backup job behind Josh Allen?

Year One

Case Keenum is a perfect fit for the Bills’ backup quarterback role and this article will hopefully explain why. Many people think Case has traveled the league as the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick or Brian Hoyer have. To the surprise of many, Case has played for the Texans, Rams, Vikings, Washington Football Team, Browns, and now the Buffalo Bills.

After going undrafted in the 2012 NFL draft, Keenum was picked up by the Houston Texans as a free agent. In his rookie season, he started eight games throwing for 1,760 yards and nine touchdowns. Being an undrafted rookie, the Texans couldn’t or at least shouldn’t have expected more than they received from Case but ultimately, he was cut at the end of the season and later signed to the Rams practice squad.

Home Sweet Home, Right?

After signing with the Rams practice squad following his rookie season, Keenum found himself back on the Texans in a backup role until Fitzpatrick went down with a broken leg, and Keenum found himself right back in the spotlight. He finished the season for the Texans with a two-game winning streak including a blowout win over the Ravens. After the season, Keenum was valued again by the Rams after trading a seventh-round pick to get him back from the Texans.

Over the 2015 and 2016 seasons Case was in the starting role yet again. In 2016 Case was the clear-cut starting quarterback after re-signing with the Rams to a one-year deal and helped the team relocate back to Los Angeles. During that season he set many team records including consecutive completions in a game (19) and passer rating for a single game (158.)

Following the 2016 season the Rams head coach Jeff Fisher presumably took quarterback Jared Goff with the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. After a slow start to the season for Case and a shiny new quarterback on the roster, the team turned to Goff on November 15th and never looked back.

Career Year For Case Keenum

After being benched for rookie Jared Goff, Keenum found himself as a wanted man again being signed by the Vikings to be their primary backup behind then quarterback Sam Bradford. One game into the season the Vikings were in a situation that every other Sam Bradford lead team had been in, he got hurt. Once again, Keenum was ready to step into the spotlight and had a career year. Case set career bests in passing yards (3,547), passing touchdowns (22), and passer rating (98.3.) Following the season, he was ranked number 51 in the league by his peers on the NFL Top 100.

That year with the Vikings, Keenum had a wonderful relationship with teammate Stefon Diggs. That year Diggs set career highs in receiving touchdowns with eight and a career-long 59-yard reception. The team finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and clinched the NFC North Division.

In the first round of the playoffs, Diggs and Keenum continued their prolific connection winning the game in overtime with what is now known as the Minneapolis Miracle. Following the amazing win over the Saints, the magical season came to a screeching halt in a 34-7 loss against the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

On The Road Again

After their career year with the Vikings, Keenum received a two-year, $36 million deal from the Broncos. He opened his campaign strong throwing for over 300 yards with three touchdowns in a win over the Seahawks, though that would be the highlight of the season. The diminished Broncos team finished with a record that consisted of six wins and ten losses, but Case set another career best in passing yards with 3,890.

Yet again Keenum found himself on the move after the season, being shipped to Washington with a seventh-round draft pick for a sixth-round pick in return. He started the season scorching hot throwing for 933 yards and seven touchdowns in their first three games. Unfortunately, the Football Team lost all three of those games and Keenum was eventually benched in Week Four for the late Dwayne Haskins. Due to injuries he and Haskins seemed to platoon for the rest of the year and Keenum finished with a little over 1,700 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Following the season in 2020, Case signed a three-year $18 million deal to be Baker Mayfield’s primary backup. In his first year with the team, he appeared in two games completing five of ten passes for 46 yards. In 2021 Case started two games for the Browns completing 65% of his passes for 462 yards. To the eye test, one could have argued he was the better of the two quarterbacks on the Browns roster.

Bills’ Backup

Keenum was traded this past off-season to the Bills for a seventh-round draft pick. He was presumably going to be cut by the Browns but instead of running the risk of him hitting free agency, the Bills chose to send a day three pick for him. In my personal opinion, it all comes back to his time with superstar Stefon Diggs. The biggest question if Josh Allen ever went down for any reason at all is how would anyone get Diggs the ball the way Allen can?

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves, no one can replace Josh Allen, but Keenum may be as close as it gets. The relationship the two quarterbacks have with Diggs is very similar. When it comes to clutch moments Allen and Keenum alike always look 14’s way. Diggs may have not set the NFL on fire or had astronomical numbers with Keenum but there was a clear and strong connection between the two and once there’s s a connection between players, it’s not hard to re-light the flame.

Year One, Game one

Keenum did not light up the scoreboard on Saturday in the Bills’ pre-season opener, going 11/18 for 86 yards and two interceptions. In his defense, he was out there against much of the Colts’ first-string defense with the entire Bills’ second-string offense by his side. The offensive line didn’t hold up well for him and one interception, in particular, was not his fault as it went off the fingertips of a Bills’ receiver and into the hands of a defender. Keenum looked to rookie Khalil Shakir many times along with Tommy Sweeney apparently building a connection with the two.

Many are clamoring for fellow back-up Matt Barkley to be the primary back-up to Josh, let’s take a step back again. Barkley has never shown any sort of promise or success in the NFL. He’s had ample opportunities to prove his worthiness as a quality backup and the NFL has shown they are not interested, except for the Bills. After breaking down Keenum’s career stats and showing the connection between him and the Diggs, it’s a clear choice who is and will be the quarterback two on the Bills’ roster.

Matt Barkley’s role on this team is the same as what Joe Webb has been the past two years, another veteran mind in the quarterback room who has a fantastic relationship with Josh and the community. Barkley and his wife have done amazing charitable things for the Buffalo community, and we were all sad to watch him go last season to the Titans. But let’s temper our expectations for his return. He will be the practice squad quarterback with Keenum being the primary backup.

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