The Broncos may have lost Saturday’s preseason game to the Bears, but when quarterback Case Keenum and the team’s starters left the field for good, the Broncos were on top.
On Friday, the Broncos will play Washington in their third preseason outing, one in which the team’s starters will play longer than in any other game; one that serves as a dress rehearsal for a regular season that’s rapidly approaching.
Finally the unquestioned leader of an NFL offense at age 30, don’t expect the confident Keenum to change his routine.
“I’m [going to] do the same thing I do every day,” Keenum said, following Monday’s practice at the Broncos’ UC Health Training Center headquarters. “I’d say [that] if you want an answer, we’re two weeks away from getting ready to go for Week 1. I’m sure there’s always going to be stuff that comes up. I like where we’re at, I do — I really do — as an offense. I think there’s always stuff we can do better, and we worked on a lot of that [Tuesday]. I think we’re getting better as an offense, and that’s where I want to be. I want to be better every time we step on the field — and I think we’ve done that.”
Keenum’s studious, focused approach makes preseason more valuable for him than most, and the Broncos’ starting quarterback’s list of things to improve over the next two weeks centered primarily on himself.
“There are a lot of things. For me, mechanically, I want my feet to get better,” Keenum said. “I thought I was a little unsettled in the pocket at times and caused a few balls to sail when we had a few guys open. Emmanuel [Sanders] got open a few times. Those balls… I want them back. Looking back, my feet weren’t as good as they normally are in [the] pocket. I think that’s part of it, too — getting some live reps with a real defensive line rushing and moving in the pocket. Being able to stay on your feet and keep your eyes down field and deliver a good catchable ball. So I think that’s going to be one of the things personally, for me. But it’s [a] game; it’s coming in here and game-planning and studying opponents, coming out and getting cardio and reps at practice. I want to succeed; I want to go win the ball game.”
When it come to practices and exhibition games, while Keenum wants to win, he knows that building good habits for the games that count are even more important. “Looking back at film, [you ask yourself,] ‘Why did I do what I did?’ Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but that’s why you train so hard out here — so when you’re out there, you’re not even thinking, you’re just reacting and playing.”
Of course, Keenum can’t do his job if the Broncos’ oft-maligned offensive line doesn’t do theirs. But after an impressive showing by the starting five in the first two games, Keenum’s feeling comfortable with his new collection of bodyguards. “They’ve grown tremendously, and they played extremely well the last couple of weeks,” Keenum said. “I take the sack that I had — it was on me. I think I can have better feet in the pocket, I can slide and get off my first read and move on down the road and get the ball out of my hands. As a quarterback, I think sacks are on me. So, I don’t put that on the O-line at all. They’ve done a great job. I had a lot of time to throw for a lot of different plays last week.”
Click the video for more from Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, including:
- His advice to youngsters for solid quarterback mechanics (it’s not the arm!)
- How backup Chad Kelly has improved over the course of camp
- His building rapport with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders
- How rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton have “earned a lot of trust”
- … and more!
VIDEO CREDIT: Denver Broncos/Facebook