The Houston Texans' smartest offseason signing will shape Stroud’s career forever
By Peter Manfre
Keenum’s credentials line up with mentoring Stroud.
Teams that trusted Keenum to be 'the guy' were left disappointed. But teams who have asked him to help back up and form young guys have seen great results. There's tons of evidence on this, too.
In 2020, Keenum was signed by the Cleveland Browns to back up then-third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former number-one overall pick was coming off a career-worst 21-interception, which saw him finish with a career-worst QB rating of 78.8. Mayfield wasn't known as a good decision-maker or a well-versed distributor of the football. Fast forward to the end of the year, and Mayfield finished with a 95.7 QBR, 31 touchdowns to only nine interceptions. It remains his best season as a pro.
Yes, it was then new head coach Kevin Stefanski's first year in Cleveland, but he is still there, and Mayfield is not. Stefanski couldn't get the best out of Mayfield after that season. In his first season with Keenum, he showed traits we have not seen since. Skills such as quick decision-making, distributing the ball to safe places, and taking what the defense gave Mayfield were all things he learned from Keenum.
I'm not saying Mayfield's career year can only be attributed to Keenum being his backup. I'm just affirming the narrative that Keenum's best asset is his mental game and how he has been a huge aid to young quarterbacks in his career. I imagine the veteran was constantly analyzing defenses and offering help during games that led to mid-game adjustments for Mayfield or avoided late-game turnovers that have plagued him since Keenum left.