ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When the Broncos face the Raiders this weekend, quarterback Case Keenum will have a fan on the opposing sideline.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden called the Broncos’ quarterback “the free-agent acquisition in pro football this year” when he spoke to the Denver media on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve been accused of liking everybody, but I really like Keenum,” Gruden said. “What he did in college is unseen — the type of production that he had. I told our people a long time ago when I first came here, I think the free-agent acquisition in pro football this year is going to be Case Keenum.
“What he did in Minnesota, the toughness that he puts on tape — he made a throw last week against Seattle. There were two or three Seahawks beating down on him, it’s a 14-yard gain. His pocket presence, I think his personality, his fight, his grit — he gets the most out of himself. I’ll bet you ask all those players, they have a ton of respect for him. He’s given them consistent, quality play at a position that they haven’t had since [Peyton] Manning left.”
Gruden’s relationship with Keenum goes back several years to when the Houston product joined the then-ESPN personality on “Gruden’s QB Camp.”
The pair broke down a handful of Keenum’s plays at Houston and also spent time doing an on-field workout.
“You know what I love about you Keenum?” said Gruden in 2012 on the show after one of Keenum’s better throws. “You’ve got some serious guts, man.
“… This isn’t inflated production. This is NFL Pro Bowl production.”
Keenum reflected Wednesday on his experience on the show, which featured many of the top quarterback prospects each year.
“It was a lot of fun,” Keenum said. “He was literally a grinder. It was back in his studio, in his office where it looks like a TV set with all the film behind it, but that was actual film that he stays in there and watches. I’m pretty sure he had watched every rep I’d played in college. [He] found some obscure tape from I don’t know where. It was a lot of fun. I got a lot of good feedback and enjoyed it.
“He gave me some good encouragement, talking about the game at the pro level. I really appreciated being able to be on it.”
Against the Raiders on Sunday, he’ll look to put that long-ago advice to good use.