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Texans set standard for 2024 and the future

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A standard has been set.

The 2023 Texans are finished. A wildly successful season considering what was expected of a bunch with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback came to a close on Saturday evening in Baltimore.

After entering the halftime locker room all square at 10-apiece with the top-seeded squad in the AFC, Houston ran out of gas and fell to the Ravens, 34-10.

There was disappointment. There were what ifs. But more importantly, there are high hopes for the future. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans wasn't pleased with Saturday's outcome, but he put the present and that bright future in perspective.

"It's not a moral victory, just being here," Ryans said. "But I'm proud of this team. This team accomplished a lot this year and I'm just looking forward to the future."

Defensive end Jonathan Greenard, who led the team with 12.5 sacks in the regular season, reflected on the 10-win season that saw the Texans capture the AFC South title, and said sights are set much higher for 2024 and beyond.

"It kind of sets the standard," Greenard said. "It does give us a little bit of good things to look forward to because we obviously know that it's not the end of the tunnel."

Right guard Shaq Mason was traded to Houston during the offseason and wound up starting every game the Texans played this year. The offensive lineman won Super Bowl rings with the Patriots over the last decade, and he sees a lot of promise for the future.

"I think guys can take a lot away from this season," Mason said. "A lot wasn't expected of us. But we expected it the whole time. You have something to look forward to."

Quarterback C.J. Stroud will likely win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. He completed 19-of-33 passes Saturday for 175 yards in the defeat. Stroud also shared in the sentiment that "our future's bright" and described what he'll do over the offseason and into next season.

"I'm going to continue to work my tail off next year to make the City of Houston proud, make my family members proud, make God proud," Stroud said.

The Texans will fly home from Baltimore on Saturday evening and clean out their lockers over the next few days. Offseason conditioning begins again in mid-April.

View the best photos from the AFC Divisional Round matchup between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens.

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