- The LA effect: Checking in with Texas native Case Keenum as he adjusts to life in LA...and a protected starting job above the no. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The Rams drafted Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick, but 28-year-old veteran Case Keenum has no interest in giving up the starting job just yet. Keenum was 3-2 as a starter in St. Louis last season, completing 60.8 percent of his passes with four TDs and just one INT. An undrafted free agent out of the University of Houston, Keenum also started 10 games for the Texans in 2013 and 2014.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher named Keenum the starter for the Rams’ L.A. debut against the Cowboys on Saturday. While Goff remains in development, Fisher complimented Keenum’s athleticism and decision-making. “He just knows what to do,” Fisher said. “He knows where to go with it.”
Keenum, a prep star at Wylie High School in Abilene, Texas, had spent little time in Los Angeles before the Rams moved westward. I caught up with him after practice at U.C. Irvine on Monday, a day before the Rams’ Hard Knocks debut on HBO ….
Andrew Perloff: How different is Los Angeles from your hometown of Abilene?
Case Keenum: It’s not quite like Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene, the main strip there. The stop lights start flashing at like 8 p.m. It’s a little different. It took me 3 hours and 45 minutes to get to camp [in Irvine] from the Valley.
AP: How’s the food?
CK: I’ve yet to find good Tex-Mex. I’m a Tex-Mex guy. I’m still trying to find my go-to spots before the season starts.
AP: Are you nervous about seeing yourself on Hard Knocks?
CK: I’m not nervous. It’s been a little different. Having the camera following us around in the meeting room is a little bit weird.
AP: Do you ever play to the camera?
CK: Some. We try to get on [Jared] Goff. We got on him when he didn’t know the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. I think that will be in there.
AP: What are the rules on picking on a No. 1 overall pick?
CK: I don’t know. I just do it until they tell me not to. No one has told me not to.
AP: How much of your role is teaching Goff?
CK: He’s got a lot of voices in his head. Well, not in his head (laughs). People talking to him. Coach [Rob] Boras, Coach [Chris] Weinke. A lot of people are coaching him Any times he needs help, I try to help him and tell him what I see. Coming from a spread like I did, he’s light years ahead of where I was as a rookie.
AP: You threw for more yards than any quarterback in college football history and got to air it out a fair amount with the Texans. But last year the Rams’ offense was conservative toward the end of the season. And you won three of your last four. Do you get frustrated not getting to sling it around?
CK: Where we were at that point of the season, we just needed to take care of the football. We had a defense that was playing out of their minds. We had a running back named Todd. Todd Gurley. You heard of him, Perloff? Spelled like it sounds. We obviously were feasting. I think we got a good mix. But having a guy like Todd also opens up the play-action.
AP: You have an…let’s say eclectic receiving corps.
CK: Exactly. That’s a good word for it. Different personalities, different everything. A lot of guys pushing to get better. We have some work to do in all areas. Receivers. Quarterbacks. But we are getting better.
AP: Has LA changed you?
CK: I still drive a truck. I still wear cowboy boots. I might have some jeans that are a little skinnier than they were in Texas. I don’t wear ‘em all the time. But my wife has gone a little overboard there.