Which Houston Texans QB will be cut: Case Keenum or T.J. Yates?


Nov 10, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker (98) chases Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) during the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans have one too many quarterbacks on their roster with four, so the question that all Texans fans have is … Which QB should the Texans cut this offseason?

Let’s just get it out of the way and assume that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tom Savage won’t be cut because one is the present of the Texans (Fitzpatrick) and one is the possible future in the rookie Savage.

That cuts the equation in half, leaving the decision of the QB that will be released as either Case Keenum or T.J. Yates.

Oct 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (13) attempts a pass during the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a little closer look at both QBs before we make our decision.

As for Keenum, he was 0-8 as a starting QB last season on a team that was the worst in the NFL. Was all of it his fault? No. Was some of it? Yes.

In the eight games he played in last season, Keenum went from being a spark for the Texans’ offense to being just another average QB in the NFL.

He finished 137-for-253 (54.2 percent) with 1,760 yards passing and nine touchdowns. He also threw six interceptions and fumbled six times. His overall rating was 78.2.

Keenum’s ESPN QBR rating was 34.5.

Compare that QBR to Fitzpatrick, who played 11 games for the Tennessee Titans last season, whose ESPN QBR rating was 55.4, as his overall numbers were 217-for-350 for 2,454 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fitzpatrick also has 12 interceptions and eight fumbles.

For Keenum, his competition percentage dropped each month from October through December. He went from 60.0 in October (25 attempts) to 54.1 percent in November (135 attempts) to 52.7 percent (93 attempts).

A plus for Keenum was he did have one game of over 300-plus yards passing, coming on Nov. 11 where he went 20-for-34 with 350 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.

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His final two games of the season, at Jacksonville and at Indianapolis, he passed for 159 yards and 168 yards, going a combined 34-for-63 with one touchdown and three interceptions.

In his final four games played in ’13, Keenum had just one touchdown pass and four interceptions.

Now for Yates.

The veteran backup is just that … a veteran backup. I don’t see Yates ever being a starter for the Texans or any other team in the NFL (except for maybe the Cleveland Browns, as they are a fan of having many starting QBs since their return to the NFL).

Yates had just 22 attempts last season, going 15-for-22 for 113 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled once.

For his career, Yates has 1,100 yards passing and three touchdowns, plus he has started in two playoff games, winning one against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011.

In the ’11 regular season, Yates played in six games, going 82-for-134 with 949 passing yards, as he kept most of his passes short, by averaging 7.08 yards per throw.

In his two postseason starts, Yates is 28-for-55 with 343 yards and one touchdown, as his role when he is under center is to manage the game, not to take over the game.

In terms of what is best for the Texans, unless they want the safe choice of the professional backup, then maybe Yates is their guy.

If I were the Texans, I’d keep Keenum for the lone reason there could still be some untapped potential with the QB. With Yates, everyone pretty much knows what they are getting.

Who would you keep, and why?