After an offseason of work, training camp and three preseason games, C.J. Stroud finally earned his spot as the Houston Texans starting quarterback. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans officially named the Texans second overall draft pick as the starter following Sunday night's 17-13 preseason finale at New Orleans.
"C.J. will be our Week 1 starter in Baltimore," Ryans said after the game.
Ryans and Stroud had a private conversation about the rookie's starting status before the head coach made the news official Sunday night.
"Was definitely a blessing, something that I think I worked for and definitely earned, but at the same time, nothing else really changes," Stroud said. "Still going to work like the way I'm working even more now. So I'm blessed enough to be able to be a starter so young in this league, which isn't the easiest thing to do. But I know my coaches have trust and faith in me, so we'll go out there and try to do my best."
Stroud led the offense on two series, throwing touchdown pass to WR Nico Collins before exiting the game late in the first quarter. Stroud was 2-of-4 for 16 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 100.0 passer rating in his brief performance against the Saints. Ryans said Stroud "did a good job" against the Saints and had a good week against Miami when the Texans hosted the Dolphins for joint practices and the second preseason game.
Both Stroud and third-year veteran Davis Mills began training camp splitting first-team reps before Stroud eventually took over all first-team reps, heading into the three preseason games and joint practices against the Miami Dolphins.
"It's been over the course of the entire process of OTAs, training camp, preseason games, seeing the complete product and knowing C.J.'s desire to continue to get better," Ryans said. "We know we're not where we need to be as a team overall. We all have to continue to get better and it's just having the mindset to do that and C.J., along with all our other guys, know we have to get better in that regard."
The Texans will open their 2023 regular season on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Baltimore against the Ravens.
Catch Stroud and the Texans at NRG Stadium in Week 2 when they host the Indianapolis Colts on September 17 at 12:00 p.m. CT.