(247 SPORTS) – Case Keenum ruffled a few feathers in Broncos Country on Tuesday when he gave a candid yet eyebrow-raising answer to a question about the famed “No Fly Zone” secondary.
“Is that their nickname? Is that what they’re called? That’s good to know,” Keenum said, laughing off his cardinal sin. “They’re talented, they’re a talented squad. I think that good going against good makes you better. I think competition, not only within positions and yourself, but against a defense coming out here everyday and competing against the ‘No Fly Zone’, it’s going to be really good. I’m excited. It’s fun competition. Those guys are really good.”
Don’t feel too bad, Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby and the rest. Keenum was unaware of more than the Broncos’ pass defense — like his tight end Jake Butt’s twice-torn ACL.
“I honestly didn’t know,” he said. “I knew he was injured, but I had no idea that it was even a knee issue. You can’t even tell. He’s running around making cuts and doing a great job.”
You will have to forgive Keenum, for he is still acclimating to life as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, calibrating on his fourth NFL team in seven years. He’s experienced (read: old) enough to know respect is not given. He doesn’t expect it simply based off his stellar 2017 campaign with the Minnesota Vikings, which he spun into a $36 million contract.
It’s going to take more than the two-and-a-half months he’s been in Denver for him to gain their reverence. And they his.
“I don’t know if there’s really a timeline for that,” he admitted. “It’s like I said my first day here with you guys, I’m trying to earn the right to lead these guys. I think that that started that day. I think it’s continued up until now, and I think it’s going to keep continuing as long as I’m here. I want to earn that right every day that I’m here. That’s how I view the position and that’s how I view being a leader. I want my actions to speak louder than my words.”
On a positive note, Keenum appeared in command of the offense during the opening day of Organized Team Activities. His mere presence will help stabilize a unit that’s so conditioned to prolong competitions involving unproven signal-callers.
Keenum, a career-long journeyman, can relate. Nothing was ever handed to him, so becoming The Guy is uncharted territory. That, too, will require some getting used to.
“It feels different. It feels good. I like it,” he said. “I like competing, I like knowing my place and knowing my role. There’s some comfortableness to that. I think that that puts different things at ease and lets you go out there and play. It lets you cut it lose. It’s nice.”