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|Kirk Cousins was the unequivocal jewel of this year’s free agent quarterback class in just about everyone’s mind but John Elway’s.
”We got our guy Youth Jake McCabe Jersey ,” the Denver Broncos general manager said Friday at Case Keenum’s introductory news conference. ”We got the guy that was our target.”
Even though Keenum was No. 1 in Elway’s eyes, he was viewed over the last several weeks as something of a runner-up even in the Broncos locker room.
Several stars such as Von Miller, Brandon Marshall and Emmanuel Sanders campaigned for Cousins, issuing public pleas for the ex-Washington QB who ultimately signed a three-year, $84 million deal with Minnesota.
Keenum, who led the Vikings to the NFC championship game after replacing an injured Sam Bradford and going 11-3, said his phone has ”been blowing up” with congratulatory texts from his new teammates – Miller’s was the first – and he brushed aside all that cajoling of Cousins, too.
”I applaud those guys for wanting to make their team better,” Keenum said after signing his two-year, $36 million deal that includes $25 million in guarantees. ”I want guys that want their team to be great, that want to do everything they can to help the team. So, no, it’s not awkward to me at all.”
Neither will it be clumsy, Keenum insisted, if Elway decides to use the fifth overall pick in next month’s NFL draft on another quarterback.
This year’s class is unusually deep at quarterback with as many as six teams expected to use first-round picks on passers, and Elway has a high draft pick for the first time since selecting Miller at No. 2 in 2011.
”I’ve been around long enough to know that anything is a possibility in this league. I was a starting quarterback when a team drafted somebody No. 1 overall and traded a bunch of draft picks. I know how that goes,” Keenum said Leon Draisaitl Jersey , recalling when the Rams selected Jared Goff in 2016.
”I know that my teammates, my coaches and the front office – everyone – is doing everything they possibly can to be the best Denver Broncos that we can possibly be. For me, it doesn’t change my mindset. It really doesn’t.”
Elway spent the week scoping out QB prospects Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen during their pro days and issued invitations to Sam Darnold and Mayfield for interviews at team headquarters in the coming weeks.
Yet, landing Keenum gives Elway the flexibility to draft a blue chip prospect such as Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson or North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb should there be an early run on quarterbacks.
That would give Keenum a premier pick to help him rather than his eventual replacement to fend off as long as he can.
”We have a lot of opportunities at five now,” Elway said.
The Broncos are coming off a 5-11 season in which they cycled through Elway’s former draft picks Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler at quarterback. They’re sending Siemian to Minnesota. Osweiler is a free agent and Lynch is now Keenum’s backup. He also won’t have the chance to earn the starting job in training camp like he had the last two summers.
Coach Vance Joseph welcomes the lack of another quarterback competition, saying it’s good for players and coaches to just focus on building an offensive scheme rather than wondering who will be running it.
Elway lauded Keenum’s renowned work ethic, his leadership and his success after going undrafted out of the University of Houston but building a strong resume with the Texans, Rams and Vikings.
”As far as leadership qualities, the grit that he has, the way that he plays the game, the way that he competes, he was the perfect fit for us,” Elway said.
The Broncos’ crush on Keenum goes way back, too.
Senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak gave him his start in the NFL and coached him in Houston for two years when Joseph was on the Texans’ staff.
The Broncos even tried to pry Keenum away from the Rams after Peyton Manning retired two years ago only to be rebuffed.
Keenum, who only had one scholarship offer after high school, isn’t used to such fawning.
”To have a team pursue me Womens Jaroslav Halak Jersey , and like John said, to be their guy, that instills a lot of confidence in me and I am ready to be that guy,” Keenum said. ”I know I am, and I’m excited to be the Denver Broncos’ quarterback.”
Case Keenum won his Denver debut despite throwing three interceptions to go with his three touchdowns.
He can thank Von Miller , who sacked Russell Wilson three times, forced two fumbles and recovered one as the Broncos held off the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 on Sunday to win for the 18th time in their past 19 home openers.
Keenum, who signed a two-year, $36 million prove-it deal in Denver six months ago after leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC championship game, normally spends his time between series with his head down but he kept looking up to watch Miller's magic.
"I'm trying to stay focused on looking at the pictures, getting ready for my next series. "But it's hard not to notice when the crowd's going crazy and Von's out there crawling or whatever he's doing, whatever his sack dance is," Keenum said. "That's impressive to watch.
"I'm glad I'm on the sidelines when he's on the field, that's for sure."
Wilson wasn't so lucky.
"We played a really tough defense, one of the best defenses you're going to face all year. Obviously Von is a great player and he made some key plays," Wilson said.
Miller, whose best play came when he simply snatched the ball from running back Chris Carson's arms Womens Anze Kopitar Jersey , said recently that he hates facing Wilson, whom he considers the best quarterback in the game today.
"I still don't like playing against Russell, I mean, running around out there 20 yards, getting everybody tired," Miller said. "Luckily, we were able to get him before he could get started. That was in our scheme this week, we wanted to keep him in the pocket and (make) him beat us with his arm, which he's capable of doing. But we'd rather pick that poison and that strategy worked."
Wilson threw for 298 yards and three TDs, but was picked off twice and sacked six times and ran just twice for 5 yards.
"He got out of the pocket a couple of times, but that's Russ," Miller said. "He's a great player. He's going to get out of the pocket, but we kept some of the great plays to a minimum."
Keenum, who threw for 329 yards, only threw seven interceptions last season and already he has three.
"I'm really excited about how good this football team can be," Keenum said. "Because if we take care of the ball 鈥?if I take care of the ball, because those are all on me 鈥?we're going to be really Brandon Manning Jersey , really hard to beat."
After Demaryius Thomas atoned for several early hiccups by scoring the go-ahead TD with 11:11 left, the Seahawks gained just 3 yards in their final three possessions, the last one ending with Adam Jones' interception at midfield with no time left.
"It's frustrating," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Third downs we were lousy (2 for 12) and we didn't run the ball as well as we wanted (64 yards) and we got sacked a bunch of times. It was not a very clean game for us."
Wilson put the Seahawks ahead 24-20 when he found Tyler Lockett all alone for a 51-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.
Brandon Marshall's 20-yard TD catch for Seattle tied it at 17 and came against the team he started his career with back in 2006.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS
One of Keenum's interceptions came when Demaryius Thomas, who also had three passes go off his hands and was whistled for a holding call that negated a first-down run, never looked back and safety Earl Thomas snared it in his first game since ending his holdout Wednesday.
"I thought I had a pick-6," said Thomas, who was caught at the 15-yard line by Broncos speedy running back Phillip Lindsay.
No matter: Six seconds later, rookie tight end Will Dissly blew past rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb and hauled in the 15-yard TD pass.
"Just glad to get through the first game and get that out of the way," said Earl Thomas, who returned to the team after his pay-me-or-trade-me demands went nowhere.
Denver took a 14-10 lead when Emmanuel Sanders somersaulted into the end zone with a 43-yard score. That was his first touchdown since Week 2 of last season.
"It was good to get back in the end zone so I decided to bust out the flip," Sanders said. "It felt good."
Shaquill Griffin's twin brother, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, started the game with K.J. Wright out following minor knee surgery. It's another chapter in the remarkable story of Griffin , who had his left hand amputated as a child.
The Griffins had back-to-back tackles on Seattle's second defensive series.
INJURIES: The only injury of note from either team was Seattle WR Doug Baldwin (right MCL sprain).
Seahawks: Visit Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Broncos: Host Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
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