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Onward & Upward: C.J. Stroud continues improvement as 2023 rolls on 

A quarterback and his offensive coordinator have to be in sync to find success. 

Throughout the offseason, training camp, every week of game prep and then ultimately for 60 minutes on gameday. Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik have found that rhythm. 

The cohesiveness of the two has helped along the former Ohio State star as he has made the jump from college football to the NFL. 

"He's helped me tremendously," Stroud said. "He's one of the people I appreciate because he's very honest with me. He holds me accountable game-in and game-out." 

No matter how the game goes, like Stroud passing for 470 yards and five touchdowns against Tampa Bay in Week 9, Slowik always has critiques to continue the maturation of the young quarterback.

"He always has a coaching point or two to hit," Stroud said. "He's really honest, which I appreciate." 

Taking these coaching points to heart is something that has impressed Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans. Along with the rest of the growth the first-year coach has seen the rookie go through in multiple areas of his game. 

"When you have a guy who loves to be coached, a guy who loves to get better every time he steps out on the field, it's easy to coach him being like that," Ryans said. "That's why C.J. has had success because of his willingness to prepare, his willingness to be coached and his grind to continue to get better with everything that he does."

The last four weeks, the progress could be seen in Stroud and Slowik being in step. 

The Texans have gone 3-1 in that span, and Stroud became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to pass for 300 or more yards in four-straight games. 

Stroud is also just the third rookie in NFL history, joining Justin Herbert and Andrew Luck, to pass for 300 or more yards in six games. In the past four outings, Stroud has passed for 1,466 yards and 10 touchdowns – he has 19 scores through the air this season. 

"He's really smart, he knows when to call certain plays and when not to," Stroud said. "My job is always to make him right. I feel like we have a good chemistry on what we've built these last couple of weeks. So, we're just going to keep growing from there." 

With 304 passing yards on Sunday, it pushed Stroud to 3,266 for the season, surpassing Herbert (3,224) for the most passing yards by a rookie through their first 11 games. 

Along with their relationship as QB-OC growing, Stroud had to show off his improvisation skills more with some plays as they developed against the Jaguars than he's had to all season. 

Stroud had to utilize his legs as Jacksonville took away some deep shots. The rookie had to work around that, extend plays, run when nothing was open, protect the ball, all of which he believes shows a step in his maturation process as an NFL quarterback. 

"I was running the ball, checking it down, trying to do my best just extending the play if I had to," Stroud, who rushed for a career-high 47 yards and a score on Sunday, said. "Just taking steps and strides every week. That's definitely been a goal of mine and I feel like I've done a decent job of that. 

"Just a controlled aggression is the two words I use. Being aggressive when it's there but being smart and controlling that when it is not."

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