There’s a new (backup) Sheriff in town
As much as Buffalo Bills fans (rightfully) were hoping for Mitch Trubisky to return, we all knew it was a one-year deal. Enter Case Keenum, who has played for…a couple teams I believe. We’ll combine some All-22 with some stats and take a look at the new addition to the quarterback room.
This is going to focus more on Case Keenum’s strengths to see how Ken Dorsey may want to prepare the team in case of emergency. I said last year that I felt Mac Jones was currently a system quarterback, but also indicated that if it’s a good system then that’s not a negative. Keenum could have a similar description and here’s a good view of a working system.
Keenum is patient enough to let the play develop. As defenders get closer to him, they get further from where the ball is headed. Keenum buying time allows for blocks to get set up and turn a checkdown into a long gain. A play like this won’t always work, but if the quarterback doesn’t have a good head on his shoulders it’ll never work.
Speaking of good head on his shoulders, Keenum starts this throw when his target is very well covered. To be comfortable with this throw, he needs to calculate several trajectories at once and know that his guy will come free. The ball is right on the money.
Here’s a few quick-fire stats on Keenum, with a ballpark of where he fits in with the league:
- Case Keenum has a 2.2% interception rate, which is right around where Josh Allen ended this past season (pretty average).
- His career 3.6% TD rate would have been good for 25th place last year.
- At 6.8 yards per attempt he would have tied Allen, but for 23rd place.
- Most common stats have a similar outcome.
Nothing screams “amazing” about Keenum, but I doubt you’re shocked by that statement. There’s also no glaring flaws. I’ll embed a passing distribution chart from Next Gen Stats, but here’s the link for all of Keenum’s work that’s available there if you want to see more.
As promised, here’s Keenum’s performance from Week 18 this past season.
Take a peek and I’ll work this into the summary below.
There’s a few things on display here. Once again Keenum is patient. He shows some pocket navigation by moving around to keep the defenders guessing. Ultimately, the step up causes a reaction from the defense, which makes it easier to cut and run when the play breaks down.
Here’s more anticipation and probably what I’d consider a highlight throw. There’s some subtle pocket movement and a bit of patience here as well.
Going back to the pass distribution chart, Case Keenum can tap into his skillset and drop the ball pretty much all over the field. If he can hit them all, why isn’t he a top-level starter then, right? Keenum reads the field well and anticipates as seen above. There’s a difference between taking advantage of a seen opportunity and creating opportunities. Consider how Josh Allen’s velocity finds opportunities that don’t exist for other QBs. Or think about Aaron Rodgers and his ability to force defensive backs to make the wrong guesses.
Keenum has a solid tool set to work with. His supporting cast will be important and if he sees game time it’ll be a good test for Ken Dorsey in his new offensive coordinator role. If Keenum is a system quarterback, all he needs is a good system.