Los Angeles will begin that with a slightly different offensive game plan in place than what was expected. Rookie quarterback Jared Goff hasn’t progressed yet to the point to where the coaching staff is confident that he can lead them as the starter.
This has created an opportunity for Case Keenum to grab the starting gig with a solid showing in the preseason by displaying command over the offense. First-year offensive coordinator Rob Boras believes that the 28-year-old is ready for the challenge ahead.
“Like him and everybody else, I feel like we’re all in a good spot. Case is prepared – that’s the one thing he’s been throughout this whole process,” Boras said. “He’s handled everything really well. In the opportunities he’s had in the preseason, he played very efficiently and created some scoring drives for us. Real excited to see how it unfolds Monday night for him. I think he’s ready.”
Keenum has had an interesting route to the Rams’ starting job over the last two years. He was first claimed off waivers by the team after being cut by the Houston Texans just prior to the 2014 season. He was then cut by Los Angeles and re-signed as a member of the practice squad.
A few months later he signed with Houston making a couple of spot starts before being dealt back to the Rams after the season in exchange for a 2016 seventh round pick. Keenum finished last year as the starter for the final five games leading the team to a 3-2 record. Finally, he re-signed with Los Angeles on a one-year deal with a first-round tender back in April.
It has certainly been a long winding path for Keenum, but his offensive coordinator has strongly asserted that these experiences over last couple of years have prepared him for the job while also helping become a better leader.
“He was prepared for it. I’ve seen that same sort of process,” Boras said. ”He’s probably growing into a leader even more, and I think that’s one of his strengths, and that’s one of the things I’m always telling him and challenging him with, that he can really drive these guys and lead them. And I think obviously just knowing that he’s going in as a starter, it’s allowing him to be an even better leader, because he’s confident with where he is.”
At the same time, Boras opines that the undrafted quarterback out of Houston still has plenty of room for growth heading into his fifth season in the league.
“I think as a leader, he’s going to continue to grow just naturally with who he is. But, I think just leading this offense and doing what we’re asking him to do, and never trying to do too much, just staying within himself,” Boras said. “Like most of these guys at this level, they’re very hard on themselves, and we’ve all got to play one play at a time. And if something doesn’t go right, how quickly can you move to the next play? And that’s really across the board. But for the quarterback position, you have to have a real short memory.”
Keenum’s first challenge in the season opener will be against a familiar opponent in the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. He made the last of his five starts in the 2015 season against the 49ers in a 19-16 overtime loss where he completed 22 of 37 passes for 231 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.