NFL Wire News

Keenum looks to match last week’s effort


HOUSTON — Entering Case Keenum’s second consecutive start at quarterback, the Houston Texans have lost the element of surprise.

Jacksonville’s coaching staff watched the tape of Keenum helping the Texans defeat Baltimore 25-13 in what’s being called in Houston one of the three biggest upsets in franchise history.

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley will be prepared for whatever head coach Bill O’Brien calls, whether it’s an option pass by Arian Foster or direct snaps to Foster, which the Texans used against the Ravens for the first time in history.

The Jaguars aren’t 3-12 because of their defense. The defense, which has registered 42 sacks — fifth in the NFL — is the primary reason they’re 2-2 over their last four games. Obviously, they’d like to beat the Texans to close 3-2 and give them some momentum for the offseason.

Keenum is the key, of course. He’s got to play like he did against Baltimore — smart and poised. He wasn’t sacked on 42 attempts. He turned it over once on a long pass that looked like a punt deep into Ravens territory.

“He’s a smart guy,” said O’Brien, who calls the plays. “He does a lot of work on his own. He understands the scouting report — the first-, second- and third-down plan — what we’re trying to do and what they’re (Jaguars) doing.

“He knows they’ll probably show us something different. He prepares. Put a good practice together (Friday), and he’ll be ready to go.”

Keenum has been so busy preparing for the Jaguars that he doesn’t have time to think about the Ravens. They might as well be ancient history.

“That’s one thing I learned about the NFL,” he said. “You don’t have time to celebrate a win or feel sorry for yourself after a loss. It’s on to next week and the next opponent. But it’s another opportunity to prove yourself.”

O’Brien had Keenum spread the wealth against Baltimore. He’ll probably spread it around again.

“It was just throwing to the open guy,” Keenum said. “We did a good job of mixing up formations and different routes. The receivers did a great job of getting open.

“They’re (Jaguars) a solid defense. They’re extremely physical up front. They do a good job in the back end, too. Their linebackers flow to the ball. We’ve got our work cut out for us when it comes to their defense.”

–This is the 26th regular-season meeting between the Texans and Jaguars. The Texans lead the series, 14-11. They have an 8-4 advantage at NRG Stadium. The Texans won the first game this season 27-13. The Jaguars swept the series last season, but the Texans have won six of the last eight.

–If J.J. Watt doesn’t have blood all over his face from a beat-up nose, he doesn’t feel right during games.

“It’s healing,” he said about an injury he gets on the bridge of his nose each season. “My face kind of is hurt. I’ve never really had my whole face hurt like this, but it’s coming around. I’m just hoping it doesn’t open up again on Sunday because I really don’t feel like bleeding anymore.

“That’s why I look so weird. The inside of my nose is a little messed up, but I’ll be all right. It’s football. It makes me kind of actually feel like I play hard. I’m not going to look good in any of our Christmas photos, but that’s OK.”

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