Hall of Fame
Join Date: Apr 2004
Re: Training camp 2013
Like it or not, unless anything changes any time soon, looks like Keo has been anointed starting safety by both Wade and Vance Joseph. Neither Reed nor Swearinger are "ready." I'm not ready to feel too comfortable that Keo is either.
REST OF THE STORY
Texans’ Keo happy to add starting safety to list of responsibilities
Posted on August 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm by Dale Robertson
If D.J. Swearinger is Ed Reed’s heir apparent, what does that make Shiloh Keo?
For the moment, it makes Keo the starting free safety for the Texans. End of conversation.
Neither the former Raven Reed, arguably the best safety of his generation, nor the rookie Swearinger is ready to hold down the position — for different reasons, of course — so defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and secondary coach Vance Joseph agreed they were comfortable awarding the job to Keo, 25, until further notice.
Good call. On the second play from scrimmage Friday night, less than two minutes into the Texans’ preseason opener at Minnesota, Keo clutched a deflected Christian Ponder pass for the team’s first interception.
The third-year pro from Idaho humbly insisted Monday morning that he had been “just in the right place at the right time.”
Perhaps. But getting in the right place at the right time requires football savvy and good instincts, which Keo (6-0, 202) has in spades, plus experience, which he’s gaining every day after two seasons mostly spent on special teams.
“I’ve paid my dues,” he said. “I’m an older guy now, so they hold me accountable. They hold me to higher standards. They believe in my ability to get the job done, and as long as I keep doing it, they won’t take me out.”
The 11-year veteran Reed will start when his surgically repaired hip feels right, but that might not happen any time soon. He has yet to practice, and each day that passes with him on the physically unable to perform list makes it less likely he’ll be a contributor at the outset of the regular season. And Reed or no Reed, Swearinger will eventually be Texans center fielder.
But Phillips made it clear last week the promising second-round draft choice from South Carolina must prove he’s ready intellectually, not just physically, before he’s in the conversation.
That leaves Keo, a fifth-round pick in 2011, holding down the fort next to veteran strong safety Danieal Manning.
“He’s a smart player, a very consistent player,” Joseph said of Keo, who played infrequently on defense in 2012 but made his first NFL interception. (Only 60 more, and he’ll catch up to Reed’s current total.) “He’s got great ball skills.