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Jared Goff gets the hype, but Case Keenum remains Rams' starter

IRVINE, Calif. -- It was Thursday, which meant it was Jared Goff's day to take questions from the assembled media. That's how it has been every week since the start of training camp. Goff, the backup quarterback, has his own day to speak. Case Keenum, the starting quarterback, talks whenever somebody asks for him.

And most of the time he ends up talking about Goff anyway.

"I'm still batting a thousand," Keenum said. "Every interview has had Jared Goff come up. I don't know if that will ever stop. That's the situation. When I step on the football field, though, all of that goes away."

Stepping onto the field has become the only time Keenum is actually treated like a starting quarterback. It'll happen again in Denver on Saturday, when the Los Angeles Rams take on the reigning-champion Denver Broncos at 9 pm ET. Keenum will start and will probably play three or four series. Goff will take over thereafter, taking a handful of snaps with members of the first-team offense before the rest of the backups come in.

And that's exactly what Goff is right now -- a backup.

The No. 1 overall pick struggled through his first four NFL drives -- interception, sack, fumble, near-fumble on a sack -- before getting into a rhythm during the second half of Saturday's 21-20 come-from-behind win at Los Angeles Coliseum. Goff's success came against the bottom of the Kansas City Chiefs' depth chart. The Rams have yet to see him thrive against the types of defenses he would face as a starter, which is why Goff probably needs an uplifting performance in Game 3 to have any chance at starting the regular-season opener, now only 17 days away.

"It's not up to me," Goff said when asked if he would be disappointed to not start Week 1 on Sept. 12, a Monday Night Football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, roughly 70 miles away from where he grew up.

"It's something that I'd love to do, but it's not my decision. That's what they pay the coaches for and that's what they're here for. I'm just trying to get better every day. Whenever they want to do it is up to them."

It's also -- at least partly -- up to Keenum, who continues to do his part. The fifth-year pro has gone 10 of 12 for 111 yards, one touchdown and zero turnovers in two prior starts, giving Rams coach Jeff Fisher the comfort of extending Goff additional time to grow.

This week, Goff felt more decisive.

"Knowing where I want to go and when I want to go," he said. "Making my decisions quicker, being faster with everything, and just not hesitating."

Fresh on Goff's mind is how good he felt throughout the second half of Saturday's game, going 7-of-10 for 72 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown, a 10-yard pass on the flat to rookie running back Malcolm Brown.

"I just want to build off what I was able to feel last game," Goff said. "It started to feel a lot more like it has in the past. I think that just comes with more reps and just settling in."

Keenum is the NCAA's all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions. He went undrafted out of the University of Houston in 2012, but started 10 games for his hometown Houston Texans over the next two years, completing 55 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,195 yards and 11 touchdowns. He then started the Rams' last four games last year, leading them to three wins in the process.

In short, Keenum has done some things. But the man who backs him up is the one on all the billboards, and in all the interviews, and the subject of almost every single one of Fisher's scrums. It's almost as if the entire world is awaiting the end of Keenum's reign as an NFL starting quarterback, a distinction he has worked his entire life to attain.

Keenum was asked if he currently feels like the starting quarterback.

"Yeah," he said, "I do."

And why is that?

"Because I am," Keenum said. "And that's the way I'm going to treat it. And even if I'm not, that's how I'm going to treat it. To be ready to go. In my own mind. Maybe not in everybody else's mind, but I've treated it like that ever since I was a kid."