The St. Louis Rams have announced that they are benching quarterback Nick Foles and will be starting Case Keenum Sunday when the Rams travel to Maryland to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Rams are coming off of two straight losses against the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. The Rams competed with the Vikings, falling 21-18 in overtime and then getting unexpectedly blown out at home 37-13 by the Bears. The Rams currently sit at 4-5 and second place in the NFC West.
The Rams offense has been the big problem. At first, most outsiders speculated that it was the young, inexperienced offensive line that was the reasons for the offense’s struggles. But as games went by, the poor performance of Nick Foles has been exposed. He is just not hitting open receivers. He was 0-12 against the Bears on throws over 10 yards. Foles has also failed to throw for at least 200 yards in seven of nine games this season. He threw for 297 against the Seattle Seahawks and then 200 against the Bears. Foles has 1,678 passing yards this season (186 YPG), along with seven touchdowns and six interceptions, four of which came against the Green Bay Packers.
Turning the ball over hasn’t been an issue with Foles. It’s simply finding the open man and making a quality throw which Foles has been unable to do lately. Yes, he is being pressured but any decent quarterback in the NFL can make these throws. Head Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t blame the offensive struggles solely on Foles, but said there needs to be better play at the quarterback position and that’s where it all starts. Fisher also said this is a break for Foles, as he will be under center once again this season, assuming that Case Keenum doesn’t come in and put up incredible numbers. Fisher stated “Nick Foles just needs a break right now. He will be prepared to play but just needs to get more experience with this offense.”
Now let’s flip the script to Case Keenum. Keenum, who is in his third NFL season, has started 10 career games, all for the Houston Texans. He went 2-8 in those games. Not great but in 2013 when he started eight games, seven of those losses were within one possession of the winning team. In 2014 after being claimed off the Rams practice squad; Keenum started the final two games for the Houston Texans. The Texans won both games. Jeff Fisher stated that he’s looking for Keenum to be “an offensive spark” for the Rams.
Keenum does have some experience playing in the NFL. He has thrown eight interceptions in those 10 career games. Not great but it shows he is risk taker and willing to take shots down the field, something Foles has been reluctant to do for the most part. Keenum has a great arm, which he showcased in college coming out of the University of Houston, in Conference USA. He threw for over 19,000 yards and had 155 passing touchdowns in five seasons. Keenum is undersized at 6’1” but has an arm. It will be interesting to see what he can do Sunday against the Ravens. The last time Keenum started a game against the Ravens, he beat them.