With QB Josh Allen listed as day-to-day while dealing with an elbow injury, there is a question mark surrounding who will start against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. Knowing there's a chance he can get his first regular-season start with the Bills in just a few days, QB Case Keenum is approaching this week like any other.
"I'm doing the same thing I do every week, I prepare to play every week, every day, every period, every practice, every meeting, so it's the same just got a few more reps today," Keenum said. "I feel great, feel great with the communication, the mindset of the team with Dorsey, and the communication from Sean everybody and taking it a day at a time."
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday "we'll see" in regards to Allen's availability for Sunday and Allen was a non-participant in Wednesday's practice.
Having been in the NFL for 10 seasons now, experience is on Keenum's side when circumstances like this arise. So with the QB uncertainty for this week's game, Keenum said that he'll be ready to go for whatever the situation may be.
"I've been in all situations," Keenum said. "Played a lot without any practice, know how to do that, step into the middle of the game. I've practiced some and then played, I've practiced very little and played. I've literally been in any situation you could probably think of throughout the week."
The rapport and chemistry throughout the QB room also prepares Keenum for moments when his number is called. And even though Allen didn't practice on Wednesday afternoon, he was still a part of team meetings which Keenum could benefit from to further ensure that the transition would be seamless if he were called upon to execute the game plan on Sunday.
After Wednesday's practice, Keenum said that he feels on the same page with the wide receivers after getting more reps than usual in practice. But he also acknowledged that when he's not physically getting those reps in during other parts of the season, he's still able to mentally take them in because he stands right behind Allen.
"I watch where he's throwing the ball and those guys body language coming in and out of the break," Keenum said. "I've gotten a lot of those reps with my eyes, the feel, and visualization. So, I've gotten a lot of those reps before and it's just putting them into place."
Outside of meetings and around the facility, Allen was "the same exact Josh that he's always been" according to LB Von Miller, who shared that the quarterback was still joking around with his teammates like he normally does.
"He's the same Will Ferrell that I've known since I first got here," Miller said. "He's still got his energy up, he's not down walking around with his lip poked out or anything like that. Everything seems normal here and we just take it one day at a time and we'll just have to see."
If Keenum does get the start on Sunday, it will come against one of his former teams. During his lone season in Minnesota in 2017, Keenum was 11-3 and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game as the starting QB. But as a journeyman in the NFL since that time, Keenum has faced former teams before. He said he knows how to treat these weeks given it's not the first time he's faced them.
But no matter what QB takes the field on any given game day, teammates and coaches are confident in all three signal callers on the Bills' roster.
"This is not Case's first day with us, nor is this process new to Case in terms of his role or potential role," Sean McDermott said. "He's been through this before. We have full confidence in Case and Matt Barkley, and we shape a game plan accordingly based on what we know right now."
For Stefon Diggs and Von Miller, their confidence in Keenum goes back to when they were teammates with the QB before their time in Buffalo together.
Diggs has seen Keenum have success when called into action with the Vikings and has even been a part of that success. When the two were in Minnesota, Keenum connected with the WR on the "Minneapolis Miracle" game-winning 61-yard TD pass on the final play of the 29-24 Vikings win over the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round.
"Case is as a professional and all those good things, but when he gets out there, he's still competing at a high level," Diggs said. "He gives you that confidence that you can win, whether it's with his arm or whether he's improving or making things happen. So, I have complete confidence in him."
The same feeling goes for Miller, who played for the Denver Broncos with Keenum in 2018.
"Everybody in that locker room has been the man at some point or another," Miller said. "If that happens and Case has to play, we line up and play with Case. But if Josh is ready to go, we line up and play with Josh. We got guys that have been playing quarterback since they were toddlers. I'm excited for those guys, I'm excited for the opportunity."
After dealing with injuries at other positions since the start of the season, this isn't the first time the Bills have faced adversity. And regardless of who's in the game at any position, Diggs feels like they're the same team and the standard that the team holds themselves to doesn't change.
"The mantras or like the things that we live and die by like the fundamentals and execution and effort and details and just the stuff that we preach, that can't change," Diggs said. "You got to play up to the standard. You got to do your job. And I've always lived in a bubble farming your own land and they say, do your 1-11th. So no matter how you dress it up, guys got to play well."
But if Keenum does dress as the starter on Sunday, he's ready to perform in front of an electric hometown crowd.
"The fact that when I came in for some mop-up duty early in the year, in the fourth quarter we were up by 40 and everybody was still on their feet the entire game, I imagine if I do get to play early it'll be pretty special, I'll have to calm myself down a little bit," Keenum said.
Case Keenum practices with the first team in Wednesday's practice at One Bills Drive. Check out the best practice photos as the Bills prepare to play Minnesota. The gallery is presented by St. Bonaventure University.