What can Redskins fans expect from Case Keenum?
Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced to reporters on Sunday that veteran quarterback Case Keenum will start in Philadelphia in week one over rookie Dwayne Haskins. The move was not an unexpected one as Keenum received all of the first string reps during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Falcons.
The Redskins become the fifth team that Keenum has started for in his career that has included stops in Houston (twice), St. Louis (twice), Minnesota, and Denver. In 2017 Keenum started 14 games for the Vikings and helped lead them to a 13-3 record and a trip to the Conference Championship. The 31 year old played with the Denver Broncos in 2018, coming away with a 6-10 record and 18 touchdowns to go along with 15 interceptions.
What can Redskins fans expect from a Case Keenum quarterbacked team?
- A short passing game – During both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Keenum ranked near the bottom of the league in Average Intended Air Yards, with 7.5 each year. This puts him right around Kirk Cousins’ numbers, so this is nothing new for Redskins fans. Both Minnesota and Denver’s passing offenses were fairly conservative with Keenum at the helm, so those numbers could be the product of the play calling. It is worth noting that Keenum ranked second-to-last in the NFL last year in accuracy on passes from 21-25 yards, however, he ranked near the top of the league in passes over 36 yards. Keenum went 7/16 in such passes with 13 of those passes being rated as accurate. This could lead to defenses being lulled to sleep by the short passing game only for Keenum to air things out when they least expect it.
- Heavy doses of Derrius Guice and Adrian Petterson – The formula that catapulted the Vikings to a 13-3 record in 2017 was a stout defense and a good run game. The 2017 Vikings finished the season with the second most run attempts in the NFL. The team lacked an elite quarterback and this was their way of hiding that fact.
- Rollouts, bootlegs and scrambles. Keenum has proven to be accurate in the past on throwing while he is on the run. The Redskins offense, over the past several years, is at its best when using play action to set up a quarterback roll out and there is no reason to expect that to change this season. Additionally, Keenum is adept as using his feet to get out of trouble and extend plays. In 2017, he used this ability to throw up 50/50 balls to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Redskins will need one or more of their unproven receivers to become a target on such passes.
All in all, the offense should look very similar to what we saw in the first half of 2018. The focus will be ball control, limit turnovers, and win the field position battle. Keenum will need to limit turnovers for the offense to be successful. In that regards, will we see 2017 Case Keenum or 2018 Case Keenum? Fans are hoping for the former.