Rams head coach Jeff Fisher wants to stick with Case Keenum despite 3-4 record

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Case Keenum threw four interceptions in the Los Angeles Rams' third straight loss on Sunday, a 17-10 defeat at the hands of the New York Giants, but head coach Jeff Fisher said he is not ready to start No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff.

"The quarterback's not the reason, by the way, that we lost three games," Fisher said in his opening statement from London, after the Rams fell to 3-4 heading into their bye week. "I'm staying with Case. He had a couple of tips and things like that today, not necessarily his fault, and then Brian [Quick] didn't get the audible adjustment at the end."

Keenum began the game 5-of-6 for 74 yards and a touchdown, but he finished it completing only 27 of 47 passes and throwing four picks.

The first went right through the hands of Tavon Austin, turning into a 44-yard touchdown return by Landon Collins. The last came in the end zone, after miscommunication with Brian Quick on an audible at the line of scrimmage, resulting in an easy interception by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

"Take a look at the tape," Fisher said, "see who's responsible for the interceptions."

Fisher was intimating that the fault of the interceptions fell mostly on his receivers, pointing to another one on an incompletion to Kenny Britt, who was wide open for a deep ball that could've resulted in a long score.Keenum overthrew Britt while pressured, but Fisher said Britt stopped midway through his post route because the veteran receiver thought he wasn't the primary target.

Said Fisher, speaking about the team in general: "We'll make changes at receiver before I make changes at quarterback."

But the middle two interceptions were all on Keenum, who made poor throws to Austin that were picked off in an ugly last three quarters for the offense. No. 2 was another tipped ball that fell into Collins' hands, and No. 3 was thrown into double coverage in the end zone for the first of two by Rodgers-Cromartie.

Over the last two weeks, Keenum ranked second in the NFL in completion percentage and fifth in passing yards. But he failed to convert on final drives that could've tied or won the game each time and still entered the Week 7 matchup with the second-worst Total QBR among qualified quarterbacks.

Then he played poorly, prompting speculation about whether it's time to go with the anticipated future face of the franchise. Still, Fisher said: "Jared's going to play when we feel Jared's ready. Had we won this game you wouldn't have been asking about Jared, which I understand. But we didn't lose this game because of quarterback play today. We lost it at some other positions."

Last year, though, Fisher said immediately after a Week 10 loss that he wasn't ready to make a change from Nick Foles to Keenum, then went from Foles to Keenum the very next day.

Keenum has thrown an interception on the Rams' last possession in each of the past three games.

"I take full responsibility," Keenum said. "You can't turn the ball over in this league. ... I've got to get better."

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