The Houston Texans (2-5) are returning from a bye in Week 9, but still have questions at quarterback. In the Texans quarterback shuffle, we have seven year veteran Matt Schaub, backup T. J. Yates and Case Keenum. The Chicago Bears(4-3) have also been hit with the need to switch quarterbacks mid-season after Jay Cutler went down against the New York Giants. Backup Josh McCown stepped in but the Washington Redskins ended up winning the game 45-41.
Schaub set an NFL record with a pick-6 in four straight games. When he went down with an ankle injury, some fans applauded as T.J. Yates took the field. Yates then threw two more pick-6 passes, and dashed hopes that he was “the guy” to turn the Houston’s season around.
Case Keenum started his first NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. Despite the noise and the subsequent loss (17-16), Keenum did well enough to get the nod to start in Week 9’s Sunday Night Football. The score was close and the team overall performed better than they have been during previous weeks.
NFL Network reported earlier today that Schaub was to start despite torn ligaments in his left ankle. Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rappaport, Schaub “might not be right” for the rest of the season. This afternoon, the BleacherReport.com indicates that despite Schaub being “fine” Coach Gary Kubiak is going with Keenum instead.
Kubiak clarified that the decision to go with Keenum was based on “what I saw take place this week,” referring to the close game against the only undefeated team remaining in the 2013 season, the Chiefs. Keenum completed 15 of 25 passed for 271 yards, averaging 10.8 yards per pass. He has no touchdowns but KC picked him off twice and sacked him twice for seven yards.
Schaub has not been at his best this year, and Yates may be too much like him to make a difference in the game and with the team. Kubiak is going to try his luck with Keenum when they play the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night. The offense and defense have been padded over the bye with running backs and linemen that indicate the Texans’ quarterback position is not the only one that needed attention.
After starting the season off with three wins in a row, the Bears unexpectedly fell to the Detroit Lions in a hard-fought battle 40-32. At 4-3, The Bears are still in the race for playoff contention, but many wonder if McCown has what it takes to step into Cutler’s considerable shoes and fill the role.
McCown has now played in four games with the Bears but started his NFL career in 2002 with Arizona. With the Bears, McCown has completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards, averaging 10.2 yards per attempt. He has only one touchdown but no interceptions and he has only been sacked once for a seven yard loss.
Unlike Keenum, he is not new to the NFL and has been with the Bear since 2011, so familiarity is not an issue. McCown’s ability to lead the team that has been under Cutler since 2010 may be in question, but he has on field experience with Arizona, Detroit, Oakland, and Carolina. That experience alone is longer and more diverse than Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck, but Luck led his team to victory against the Denver Broncos, so anything can happen.
While Houston is struggling for wins and identity, the Bears are well established this season. Cutler is out for “several weeks” and Schaub is not expected to start in the near future. In the coming weeks, we expect to see both McCown and Keenum display the skills that got them entry to the NFL. Hopefully the shifting at the quarterback position is over for now and these teams can settle into a winning rhythm
By: Brandi Tasby