Houston Texans To Have QB2 Battle Between Case Keenum and Davis Mills?

The Houston Texans are entering the 2024 season with C.J. Stroud as their undisputed starter, but who should take the helm as the unquestionable backup quarterback?
Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (18) sits on the bench after he was replaced with quarterback Davis Mills (10) (not pictured) against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (18) sits on the bench after he was replaced with quarterback Davis Mills (10) (not pictured) against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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When C.J. Stroud suffered a concussion last season against the New York Jets, the consensus was that Davis Mills would replace the injured rookie quarterback. Mills was a year removed from starting 15 of the previous 17 games. Despite his struggles, he remained the projected backup to Stroud.

However, when the Houston Texans took to the field at Nissan Stadium in a match against the Tennessee Titans in December, Case Keenum took center stage as the starting quarterback. His play led the Texans to a 19-16 Week 15 overtime victory.

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At the time, coach DeMeco Ryans credited the decision to start Keenum because of his experience playing in critical games, given that the Texans were in the middle of a playoff push.

Mills and Keenum will continue to play behind Stroud next season. However, during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Ryan revealed that both players, including Tim Boyle, are in a "real competition" to take the helm as the primary backup quarterback.

"Davis has improved a lot — Davis has done a great job; Case has done a great job as well," Ryans said. "It’s a good group of backup quarterbacks that are competing. A healthy competition there. I really like the way all those guys just work together."

Houston went 1-1 in Stroud's absence, while Keenum started both games. In his lone victory against the Titans, Keenum finished the game throwing for 229 yards and one passing touchdown while going 23 of 36. His performance on the road played a monumental role in helping the franchise end its three-year postseason drought.

Meanwhile, Mills watched the majority of Keenum's performances from the sideline. He understood the Texans' decision but wanted a chance to compete.

The undisputed backup behind Stroud is wide-open. However, the competition between Keenum and Mills will not divide the position group. If anything, Ryans believes the competition will help improve each player's individual play.

"They’re always helping each other after a play, or after a guy’s done with his set of plays," Ryans said. "They’re constantly communicating, ‘Hey, what did you see?’ It’s like, that’s what you want on your team, guys just helping each other out, being coaches on the field and all of those guys do a fantastic job of that."


READ MORE: Texans' C.J. Stroud Assisting Residents Impacted By Deadly Storm

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Coty M. Davis

COTY M. DAVIS