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Case Keenum bolsters case as No. 1 option for Los Angeles Rams

By
The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Carson Palmer Case Keenum warms up before the Los Angeles Rams-Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, October 2, 2016. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Carson Palmer Case Keenum warms up before the Los Angeles Rams-Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, October 2, 2016. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There's no reason to scoff about Goff when Case is keeping you in the chase.

Last week, Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher reiterated that the plan all along was to bring along rookie quarterback Jared Goff, the No.1 overall pick in this year's draft, at a slow and melodic pace until the rookie is ready to face NFL competition.

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Until then, Fisher said, the Rams would be perfectly content to stick with Case Keenum as their starter for however long it takes. At the rate at which the Rams keep winning games, it might be a long time before Goff gets a chance to play.

Keenum helped the surprising Rams improve to 3-1 after Los Angeles managed to beat the Arizona Cardinals 17-13 on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium. Keenum's performance was as notable as anyone in helping the Rams get off to their best start in a decade.

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He was 18 of 30 for 266 yards and two touchdowns -- both of them to Brian Quick -- and didn't throw an interception.

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The more he watches Keenum, the more trust Fisher is gaining in sending him back out onto the field to lead the offense.

"It's there. It's been there," Fisher said if his trust in Keenum. "He's really good in the huddle. He overcomes difficult situations really quick, keeps the guys up, and keeps them going. He's done a really good job of that."

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On a day when the Cardinals were able to shut down star running back Todd Gurley, who finished with just 33 yards on 19 carries, Keenum had to be effective and protect the football. One of his finer moments on Sunday was the regularity with which he got rid of the football quickly before the Cardinals could create too much pressure against him.

"Yeah, that was our plan," Fisher said. "It's an outstanding defense. They get pressure and they'll stop the run and they'll pressure you. They are well-coached and anticipate things. That was our plan, was just get rid of it. Get people open and get rid of it."

Keenum said he's gaining more chemistry with his receivers every week and that it seemed to pay off on Sunday when the stakes were at their highest.

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"It's growing and getting better," he said. "I think it carried over from training camp. It's not perfect, but we're getting there. I think the exciting thing is there is a lot more out there for us. Those guys are playing hard and I am really excited where they are as a group."

So is Fisher as it relates to Keenum, who is now 6-3 as a starter with the Rams.

"He's preparing every week and he expects to win," Fisher said. "That's how he is. That's why months ago we said that he was our starter, because we have confidence in him. And he can win games."

Having Goff sitting and waiting behind him can't help but also be a motivation for Keenum.

"They root for each other," Fisher said. "That's all I can tell. They're rooting for each other. Case is not looking over his shoulder -- he's winning games. He's been a great asset in Jared's development. I would not exclude Sean (Mannion) out of that, either. All three of them, that's a great room."

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