by Chris Baldwin
As the media horde swarms around Ed Reed, waiting on the first training camp words of the grizzled Hall of Famer to be, Case Keenum throws passes to undrafted free agent wide receiver Andy Cruse on another field.
In one sequence, Keenum tells Cruse — who is more of a longshot, wide-eyed dreamer than even Keenum himself ever was — when to cut on a certain route, playing it forward even as Reed talks about being thought of as the Houston Texans new wise "uncle."
This extra time on the field after practice is anything but a charity situation to Keenum though. If he didn't having willing wide receivers, you get the idea he'd call over his wife Kimberly, who is waiting patiently on the sideline after this packed open practice, and send her on a go route.
It's training camp now, the first preseason game is only 10 days away and Keenum's only gaining on Yates.
Keenum knows he needs to grab every chance. He'll squeeze in extra reps whenever — and however — he can.
"It's important," Keenum says of the post-practice work. "You want to feel good about what you're doing and end on a good note. It's a chance to work on things.
"If you had a bad rep in practice, you want to work on that and do it right. Make that play a good rep."
So Keenum gets in as many reps as he can. The former University of Houston quarterback star keeps pushing himself, almost willing himself into an NFL ready quarterback throw after throw . . . after throw. This is the Case Keenum way. He always wanted to know how many passes he threw and completed in each practice at UH and his old coach Kevin Sumlin made sure the hard data was available.
This analytical drive is starting to be recognized on the pro level as well. Texans coach Gary Kubiak is talking about just how hard Keenum is pushing T.J. Yates for the No. 2 quarterback job again. Kubiak said much of the same thing during OTAs (essentially offseason practices in shorts), but some Houston media voices refused to accept that truth. Some like 610 AM's Nick Wright downright mocked the idea.
Only it's training camp now, the first preseason game is only 10 days away and Keenum's only gaining on Yates.
"He’s having a really good camp," Kubiak says of Keenum. "I’ll be interested to see — he’s going to play a lot in the preseason. I’ve got to play him and T.J. a great deal."
Kubiak also notes how Yates is having some issues. "I think T.J. can throw the ball a little better than he’s throwing it," the coach says. "His arm is a little tired right now. They’re all tired. He missed a few this morning, but he made some plays.
"He’s in a very competitive situation right now with Case and that will work itself out throughout the course of the preseason."