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“What the heck?”: Case Keenum’s preseason stat line confusing but encouraging

Zac Stevens Avatar
August 25, 2018

Fantasy owners, refrain.

Broncos fans, rejoice.

Through the Denver Broncos’ first three preseason games, Keenum has put together what amounts to be about one full game of football on the field.

In those roughly 60 minutes of “ball,” as Case himself would likely call it, the quarterback has put up a measly 9.14 fantasy points.

In that same time, though, Keenum and the first-team unit have outscored the opposing team’s first-team units 30-17—coincidentally nearly the same score as Friday night’s game.

Despite numbers that’ll make many want to look for another signal caller, Keenum’s simply playing winning football.

His stat line is as vanilla as they come for nearly one total games worth of work: 21-for-35 for 231 passing yards with no touchdowns and two sacks.

But the quarterback also has goose eggs in the turnover department—zero interceptions and zero fumbles, from him or anyone on his first-team unit.

“That’s key. More games are lost than won in this league, so if you take care of the ball you have a chance to win in this league,” Joseph said, mildly applauding his new quarterback for taking care of the ball.

Additionally, after a slow, and forgetful, start to the season—in which Keenum has three-straight three-and-outs—the unit led by Case scored on five of its last seven drives, going 50-plus yards in all five of those scoring efforts.

Three of those five drives were for touchdowns, and the other two were field goals.

Average the team’s previous seven drives out over 10 possessions—roughly the number of drives in a game—and the Broncos are looking at roughly four touchdowns, three field goals, and three punts.

That’s 37 points, well beyond Chris Harris Jr.’s incredibly bold prediction that the offense can put up 30 points per game.

Now, that’s certainly not likely, but it paints the picture of just how good Denver’s offense has been after their first three possessions of the preseason.

All with Keenum putting up saltine-like numbers. Or in the words of Joseph, “He’s played good quarterback.”

So if it’s not Keenum, then who is it putting up all these the points?

Two words: Running. Game.

While Royce Freeman has three touchdowns in the preseason, only two have come with the first-team unit. The other player with a touchdown on the ground is Emmanuel Sanders, after he took a reverse 27 yards to the house against Washington.

“Yeah, what the heck?” Keenum jokingly said with a smile on his face when told the running game kept him out of the end zone in the preseason.

Joseph, on the other hand, wasn’t in as much of a joking mood after the third preseason game.

Although the head coach classified Case’s play as “good” after Friday night’s game, he was more mellow with the rest of his words.

“He’s been fine,” Joseph said after the game. “If you ask Case, he can play better, and that’s what I want from our quarterback, it’s never good enough for him. In his mind, he can play a lot better. Hopefully, he will.”

What the heck, coach?

In reality, though, Joseph is spot on. Keenum has missed numerous easy passes, in NFL terms, even in the team’s recent hot streak.

Even better play from Keenum will have opposing defensive coordinators asking themselves, “What the heck?”

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