BOCA RATON – There probably aren’t any new or exciting ways Rams general manager can explain that Case Keenum is the starting quarterback heading into the offseason program and training camp.
Yet Snead keeps getting getting asked about it, which means he has to answer. And when he does, he keeps saying essentially the same thing: Case Keenum is the starting quarterback heading into training camp.
A point he reiterated on Tuesday at the NFL’s annual league meetings in Florida.
The disconnect is how people interpret it. Or how they might confuse the confidence the Rams express in Keenum’s ability to stabilize the quarterback position with them being completely satisfied with the position moving forward.
The two thoughts aren’t mutually exclusive.
A distinction Snead is well versed having been with the Atlanta Falcons when they re-signed 2007 tail-end-of-the-season starter Chris Redman to a two-year deal and then drafted Matt Ryan in the first round.
But more on that in a bit.
The short and long of it being: The Rams believe Keenum gives them a chance to compete. But they are absolutely looking for their long-range quarterback.
They just don’t seem to think that quarterback exists in free agency. Which likely explains the lukewarm attention they’ve paid to options like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Robert Griffin III, whom they look at and believe – or at least hope – Keenum can be every bit as good as in 2016.
“So instead of going out and trying to find someone (in free agency) and then doing it all over again or, so many weeks in, say, ‘maybe we better go back to Case’ we felt like, let’s stabilize this thing, and that’ll give us a chance to compete.”
Although Snead also added: “But also be like any other team and say, ‘if that (long-range) guy is there, let’s go get him.'”
There being the draft, of course, which could provide the long-range answer the Rams are seeking in North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz or Cal’s Jared Goff, among other possibilities.
In that scenario, Keenum provides quarterback stability while the long-range quarterback develops.
A process that could take until the fourth game of this season or all the way to next year or perhaps three weeks into training camp.
You never know. Which is why Keenum holding down the fort becomes so important.
“Nowadays you’re getting to the point where it’s probably beneficial where you take someone that, they don’t have to play right away,” Snead said. “Because if you do draft someone and say: ‘he has to play by this date, it’s kind of like a false deadline, how do we even know that?”
Which brings us back to Chris Redman and Matt Ryan and the time Snead spent with the Falcons.
Much like Keenum did for the Rams at the tail end of 2015, Redman came off for the Falcons in 2007 and helped win some late-season games. The Falcons rewarded him with a two-year contract because, as Snead explained, he proved he could give them a chance to be competitive. Redman went into the offseason as the Falcons starting quarterback.
“But then we drafted Matt Ryan,” Snead said. “And we said, when Matt is ready to play, he’ll play.”
The Falcons didn’t put a timeline on it, believing Redman would be perfectly fine stabilizing the position Ryan developed.
Then they let the process play out.
“And lo and behold, after the third preseason, game we were like, Matt’s ready to play,” Snead explained.
The rest is history.
So while Keenum gives the Rams some stability, that doesn’t mean he’s the answer.