On Tuesday afternoon, after practice, St. Louis Rams’ quarterback Case Keenum fielded questions for the very first time as a starter. He spoke about his deep respect for Nick Foles, his knowledge of the offense, and what he brings to the team. Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher also spoke to the media, and answered questions about both his current - and former - starting QB’s.
Well, I think that Case has shown that he can extend plays. I mean, scramble around, extend plays and make throws down the field. So, yeah, there are some things that we can do a little bit differently. But, it all starts with the run game and our ability to protect him.
Yes, he is a pro. Proud of him. It’s not easy. Today’s a hard day. A really hard day for him, but he’s handled it with class and understands. Don’t expect him to like it, but he’s a pro. He’s still our captain. He’s our offensive captain.
Can Fisher throw the whole playbook at Keenum? He sure can...
Yeah, there’s nothing we have to scale down. I mean, he’s been preparing himself to play week in and week out. (He) understands the offense, so we just want to be mindful of the things that he really likes. There’s some different things. We made some minor adjustments in the plan just because there’s some things that he sees and sees a little differently than Nick and they prefer. It’s all good. All it does is hopefully translates into first downs.
Here’s the full transcript from the Rams’ new starting QB, Case Keenum...
"It started out pretty normal. Obviously, (Head) Coach (Jeff) Fisher came in and talked to us after we were done watching the film. Kind of a lot of different emotions at that time. (QB) Nick’s (Foles) one of my best friends. We’ve been fighting hard together to play the best that our position can play. I have the utmost respect for Nick. That’s the first person that I talked to after Coach Fisher told us. We have a great relationship and I have his back no matter what. Nobody cares more about this team, loves the guys on this team, respects the guys on this team. If you guys would’ve heard the speech he gave Saturday night before the game the other night, it moved me. One of the best I’ve ever heard pregame. Just one of the best guys I know. Nothing changes between us. Maybe a few different snaps here and there. We’re going to go forward like we always have. Getting ready to play, watching film, talking through plays with each other, getting things ready to go and looking at Baltimore."
(On what the tenor of Foles’ speech was)
"That’s a team meeting deal…that we talk about, what happens in team meeting that stays there. Everybody in this locker room knows how much that he cares about this team. Nobody has a doubt in him as a player or person or anything of that matter."
(On having been on both sides of a quarterback change)
"Yeah, I’ve been on a lot of sides of the quarterback position, in this business especially. I’ve been named the starter after a guy that gets injured or whatever it is. I’ve been a backup now for a while. I’ve been replaced as a starter. I’ve been a No.4 guy on one team and then starting the next week for another team. I’ve kind of been through it all. You have to be ready when you get a chance. I’m ready. I’ve been prepared and that’s what I do every week, is I get ready to play. I’m excited for my chance, I really am. I’m excited to go out there and compete again. You don’t get many chances to play in this league. I definitely count it as a blessing. To have a second chance to come out and compete is incredible."
(On if his knowledge of the offense is better now than it was a year ago)
"Yeah, quite a bit. (Offensive Coordinator Frank) ‘Cig’ (Cignetti) and I spent a lot of time last year together. Being the third guy, being the practice squad guy for the last half of the season, just talking ball. I think as a quarterback you want to be on the same page as your coordinator. See the defense with the same set of eyes and I think we do. This week, I’m about to go up there right now and meet with him some more. We’re just continually doing that and just trying to put our team in the best possible situation to win on Sunday."
(On if there are things he can bring to the offense with his legs)
"I play the game like I know how to play the game. I try to find the open guy. I try to get the ball out of my hands and into the fast guys hands. That tends to work better when I’m not holding it and they’ve got it in their hands. You guys know the talent we have in this locker room and you’ve seen it every Sunday and that’s my job."
(On getting his timing down with the receivers)
"I got a lot of reps with these guys during the preseason. They rotated receivers in and out. I’ve seen every rep, every practice rep, everything that’s happened around here for the whole time. As far as sliding into that, I try to do the same thing as Nick in certain situations, but I’m different at the same time. It is what it is."
(On if he feels okay with the chemistry with the starting receivers)
"Yeah, I think so. I think it always takes time. Chemistry takes time. That’s one thing that’s tough about this league is that sometimes you don’t get to play with guys. There’s only certain quarterbacks in this league that play for the same team for years on years. That’s one of the reasons they do so well is they play with the same guys. They can read body language during routes, off breaks, pre-snap, different things like that. That’s why we practice. That’s why we go out there and play. The more you play, the more you practice, the more experience you get and that’s priceless."
(On how much the Ravens being a familiar opponent helps)
"I played Baltimore last year. I’ve been to Baltimore there to their stadium before when I was with the Texans. I wasn’t playing, but I’ve been to the stadium. It helps and it doesn’t. It’s previous years. It’s a new team. It’s a new opponent. Baltimore is a different team, too. There’s good and bad things there."
(On how different it feels to go through a game plan knowing he’s going to be out there on Sunday)
"You may dot a few more I’s and cross a few more T’s when you’re thinking about the plan. I try to visualize when I’m not playing, I try to prepare like I am. My routine is quite similar. I try to prepare and be the most mentally ready that I can be every time I step on the practice field. Now, instead of sitting back there visualizing it doing fake reps on air, I get the real reps, which is a lot better than sitting back there on air doing that."
(On if he feels the need to step up his leadership game)
"I am who I am. And Nick is who he is. He’s a leader on this team. He’s a captain. He’s my captain. I don’t think that me being named starter diminishes anything of that of him. I’ve learned a lot from him in however many, six months that I’ve been here that we’ve been here together. One of the best leadership guys that I’ve been around. I’m going to continue to look to him and I know guys on the team are going to continue to look to him as well to be that leader."
(On if he feels that now that he’s the starter, leadership is an aspect of his game that he needs to step up)
"Like I said, I’m going to do me. I’m going to play quarterback like I know how to play quarterback. That’s based off years of practice and getting things from other quarterbacks and learning and what I know, how to lead guys and how to be in a huddle and who needs talking to, who needs to go to the side and talk to them and who does what. Like Nick says, you have to love and respect each other and finding out about each other and it’s about the relationship."
(On how much his previous starting experience can help him this time around)
"Experience is priceless, especially in this league. There’s not a lot of practice reps to go around, especially during the season. Any time you get real, live reps - it’s priceless. It’s your resume. Your film in this league is your resume. That’s what goes around to everybody. They see what you put on film."