From cementing himself as one of the NCAA’s most prolific collegiate passers to becoming an NFL Draft afterthought — Case Keenum’s path to success in this league has been an arduous one, filled with roller coaster-like ups and downs. After years of playing the back up and pinch starter role for a handful of teams around the league, Keenum’s breakout year last season with the Minnesota Vikings proved he has what it takes to take command of a huddle indefinitely.
It has been a long wait, but the best things in life are truly worth waiting for. Without question, he is finally ready to be ‘the guy’ for the Denver Broncos. With each day that passes, he can continue to author a new chapter in his career that doesn’t need the words ‘journeyman quarterback’ anywhere in it.
“Case has been through a lot of ups and downs in his career, and he’s had success at a high level, speaking of last year. He’s ready for the challenge,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said after the first day of the Broncos’ mini-camp. “He’s been a great leader for our football team and having a chance to finally be the guy from day one has been fun for Case. I’m excited for him. He’s had a great journey. It’s going to be a great book I’m sure and he’ll have a good season for us,” Joseph went on to add.
Over the past several seasons, the Broncos have lacked poise, leadership and efficiency at the position — three areas where Keenum excelled tremendously in his miraculous run in Minnesota last season. Above all else, Keenum remains hungry, eager to learn and strives to make the most out of each day — wearing a chip on his shoulder, despite his starter status, like he still has something to prove. With Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave shaking up the team’s offense for 2018, mastering the new concepts and philosophy is a primary goal on Keenum’s radar.
“I guess it depends on your definition of ‘master.’ I’m always trying to master it. I’m always trying to perfect my craft. I think to get to master level—it’s hard to say. It’s different for every offense. We’re getting there. We’re getting close, but I never feel like I’ve arrived,” remarked Keenum.
Revitalizing an offense that has been destitute the past two seasons will take more than just Keenum’s diligence and preparation. It will take a cohesive and unified effort from the players the team added in the offseason to compliment and accentuate the quality aspect of his game. To date, he has been particularly impressed with rookie wide receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, but has also taken notice to second-year tight end Jake Butt — who is just as hungry as he is to show that he can make an impact for the Broncos this season.
“Jake is a competitor. He wants the ball no matter what and I like that. I like a guy that comes back to the huddle and, ‘Hey, were you open on that play,’ and even if there were three guys on him, he’s like, ‘Yeah, you could’ve fit it in’,” Keenum said in regard to Butt. “He wants the ball and I love that. He’s hungry right now for knowledge, for how to run routes, for how to maneuver with leverage and I’m excited for him to continue to keep going.”
The mutual hunger shared by Keenum, Butt and the rest of the offense is a fresh and most-welcomed desire that’s been absent from Dove Valley the past few years. In his early days as the Broncos’ starting quarterback — so far, so good for Case Keenum. With his passion and desire to be great, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take this offense to new heights that haven’t been reached since The Sheriff was calling shots behind center.
Color me optimistic, you can even call me crazy — but I have all the confidence in the world that under the leadership of Keenum, the Denver Broncos will soon again be champions of the AFC West and make a run at a fourth Lombardi Trophy.