HOUSTON (AP) — Case Keenum will start at quarterback in place of a healthy Matt Schaub when the Texans host division foe Indianapolis on Sunday night.
Coach Gary Kubiak announced the decision Monday and said he had decided before the bye weekend to give Keenum a second straight start as the Texans try to end a five-game losing streak. Kubiak said the decision was not for the rest of the season, but is geared toward trying to keep the team going in the right direction following a close 17-16 loss to Kansas City in which Keenum played well.
"I've got to make decisions I think are best for the football team right now," Kubiak said. "The decision I made was based on what I saw take place last week with Case and him taking advantage of an opportunity. I want to see him move forward."
Keenum saw the first game action of his two-year career in the loss to the Chiefs. Teammates pointed to the energy he brought to the field while going 15 for 25 for 271 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought we went out and played better football and that's why we had a chance to win in Kansas City," Kubiak said. "I thought (Keenum) did some really good things. He's got to improve. This football team's got to improve around him."
Keenum said he needs to "get better in a lot of things," including making reads and picking up the types of blitzes he saw in the fourth quarter against Kansas City.
"I imagine we'll see it again," Keenum said of the pressure. "You put it on film and people see it. So correcting that is going to be big time."
Schaub, a seven-year veteran who was handpicked by Kubiak to replace David Carr in 2007, got off to a rough start leading the team to a 2-4 record before leaving a loss to the St. Louis Rams with an ankle injury.
"It's obviously very disappointing with all we've been through here and all we've done, but I'm part of the reason we're in this situation as a football team," Schaub said. "As a player and a competitor, I don't like it and I want to be out there. Obviously, I haven't played up to my standards this year. I think that's where it mostly stems from."
Schaub was back at practice Monday, but Keenum will get the reins of the offense knowing that he's starting not for injury reasons, but for his play on the field. Now he will get the chance to show it in front of the hometown fans.
"I imagine I'll have a few more goose bumps than I did last week," said Keenum, who starred at the University of Houston. "To play in Houston, to play at Reliant . I know Sunday night's going to be very special.
Who will line up behind Keenum is still in question. Starting running back Arian Foster (hamstring) worked only with the trainers Monday and Ben Tate (ribs) missed practice altogether.
"I'm very concerned," Kubiak said. "I don't think we're going to know anything until later this week. I think they're both giving us everything they can to try and play this week."
With both players out, running backs Deji Karim, Dennis Johnson and Ray Graham are working with the Texans this week.
Notes: Linebackers Tavares Gooden and Jeff Tarpinian practiced with the team for the first time Monday since signing . Right guard Wade Smith was out with a knee injury.