But Keenum isn’t worried about the pressure. He’s just focusing on doing what he’s always done, silencing the doubters.
“I’ve always tried to play with something to prove,” he said. “Every time I go out, be the same guy and know that nothing’s ever been handed to me. I have to earn everything I get with hard work and being the best I can be every play and every snap.”
The Colts don’t have a lot of film on Keenum. Head coach Chuck Pagano said the team will go back and look at some of his college tapes and, of course, his preseason appearances in the NFL.
But Pagano saw enough in Keenum’s lone start to be impressed.
“The kid has moxie,” he said. “He’s got savvy. He was cool under pressure. That’s a top-five defense he went against (in Kansas City). Made big plays. He’s able to extend plays. He’s got enough arm talent to beat you, enough weapons around him.”
There is some question as to whether Houston will have its full arsenal on Sunday. Starting running back Arian Foster is battling a hamstring injury and backup Ben Tate is dealing with four broken ribs. Both players’ status will be determined later in the week.
But there’s an energy from the fans, an excitement about a Texas native who made his name in Houston getting a shot to turn the team’s fortunes around.
“I’ve been really privileged enough to wear the name of Houston, the city of Houston, on the front of my jersey for a long time now, in college and now in the NFL,” Keenum said. “So being able to start and play here again is very special to me. I’m very excited about Sunday and coming out in front of a home crowd.”