It starts as one of those silly Twitter hashtags, pushed by a fan base looking for anything to grab onto amidst the misery. As the score spirals in San Francisco, as Matt Schaub finds new and creatively unbelievable ways to throw interception after interception, #FreeCaseKeenum spreads.
It's silly — and perfectly sensible. Just because something makes sense doesn't mean it is going to happen though. Let's just hope it's not not happening because of cents.
Really, is there any other logical reason for Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak to continue stubbornly sticking to Matt Schaub? After 34-3 San Francisco 49ers in a Sunday Night Football national TV showcase? After three more Schaub interceptions and the most embarrassing moment in Texans history since that 2-14 season?
What would Schaub have to do to lose the job — burn down Kubiak's house?
This Sunday Night debacle makes those prime time meltdowns against the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots last season look rather tame by comparison. Turns out, they really weren't so bad.
How is Matt Schaub still the Texans starting quarterback after this?
One has to think it comes down to the mammoth $62 million extension he signed before the first game of last season. Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith hitched their wagon to Matt Schaub and they're not about to let logic get in the way now.
When Kubiak's postgame press conference begins with a question on whether Schaub is still the No. 1 quarterback, the coach doesn't hesitate.
"Yes, he is," Kubiak says in remarks televised live back to Houston.
Which begs the question: What would Schaub have to do to lose the job — burn down Kubiak's house?
He's already lit a flame to the Texans' season of Super expectations. If Kubiak isn't careful, the next thing The Pick-6 Master will torch is his NFL head coaching career. Maybe, Kubiak would be fine going down this way. Certainly, no one can question the coach's loyalty. There are mob families that display less undying loyalty than what Kubiak is giving Schaub.
"I'm trying to help a guy I really believe in," Kubiak says later in the press conference.
Schaub sounds much of the same tone, talking about much history he's built with Kubiak and the Texans.
"I've worked too hard since I've come into this building for it to come to this," Schaub says in remarks broadcast on CSN Houston. ". . . (Kubiak and I) have been through a lot together. And we'll continue to go through a lot together."
Is this the National Football League or an episode of Dr. Phil?
This idea that you'd throw away the season if you went to Keenum is laughable. You don't think Kubiak could be doing that by stubbornly sticking to Schaub?
In the NFL, you're either getting better every day or you're falling farther and farther behind. Does anyone truly think Matt Schaub is getting better at this point in his career?
It's time for the Texans to see what another more mobile quarterback, a quarterback who still has upside, a quarterback who isn't so shell shocked that he now gets the inevitable Pick-6 out of the way on his first throw of the game, can do in a Gary Kubiak offense. And after a night of seeing the Texans' default No. 2 quarterback T.J. Yates look almost as shaky as Schaub in a brief relief stint — fumbling the snap on fourth-and-one, throwing the ball wildly away on another play — it's becoming more and more clear that quarterback should be Case Keenum.
I wrote it last week when everyone else in the Keenum-doubting Houston media maintained Schaub was the best choice and I'll say it again: Why not Case Keenum?
This idea that you'd be throwing away the season if you went to Keenum is laughable. You don't think Kubiak could be doing that by stubbornly sticking to Schaub? The last time the Texans held a losing record — which is where they sit now at 2-3 — during a season, they finished 6-10 in the lost season of 2010. That type of record is very much in play with this Matt Schaub.
There's still plenty of hope in the 25-year-old, second-year Keenum. Where's the hope with Matt Schaub?
Texans Need Keenum Hope
Kubiak wouldn't be tossing the season by benching Schaub. He'd be giving Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Arian Foster, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing and all the other talent Smith's stockpiled a chance to save it.
The San Francisco 49ers' defensive gameplan centers around the idea of encouraging Schaub to throw the football. The better to jump the routes and enjoy interception city.
You can't put loyalty to one player over the good of the entire team.
"We know he's been getting hit a lot," 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman tells NBC's Michelle Tafoya after the game. "And we just wanted to put a lot of pressure on him and just let him throw the ball out there."
This is your leader?
If Kubiak can only look past blind loyalty, a blueprint stands right across the other side of the field. Colin Kaepernick — the young quarterback who San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh boldly discarded a veteran with good numbers for — does not beat the Texans. Kaepernick is only 6-for-15 for 113 yards against Wade Phillips' Bulls On Parade defense — with more than half of that coming on 64-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis that's mostly Davis — on this night.
But Kaepernick makes sure his team has every chance to win the game. He doesn't flinch, or seize up in the pressure of the moment.
"I believe in him as a person," Kubiak says of Schaub. "I believe in him as a player."
No doubt, Matt Schaub is one of the great, stand-up guys in all of professional sports. Kubiak's right to cherish the memories he and Schaub share of bringing the Texans into the land of contenders. But none of those are valid reasons to stick with No. 8. You can't put loyalty to one player over the good of the entire team.
The Case is already closed. Whether Kubiak will open his eyes and see it or not.
#FreeCaseKeenum. Sometimes silly is the only smart thing.