DJ Bien-AimeESPNAug 28, 2023, 00:00 AM ET3 Minute Read
“DeMeco Ryans Names CJ Stroud Texans Week One Starter”
DeMeco Ryans explains the thought process of appointing CJ Stroud as starter.
HOUSTON — After the Houston Texans’ 17-13 win in the preseason finals against the New Orleans Saints, coach DeMeco Ryans announced that quarterback CJ Stroud will be a starting XI in the Texans’ first week against the Baltimore Ravens.
“It was definitely a blessing, something that I feel like I worked for and definitely deserved,” Stroud said. “At the same time, nothing else really changes. It will still work the way I did, but now even more so. I’m blessed enough to be a starter so young in this league, but that’s not the case.” That’s the simplest thing. But I know my coaches have faith in me, so I’ll go out there and do my best.”
The Texans were the last team in the NFL to name their pick, but Ryans’ motivations for picking Stroud were based on what he’d seen since Stroud’s draft and his desire to improve.
“It’s been just seeing the full product and knowing CJ’s desire to keep improving throughout the process of the OTAs, the pre-season games,” Ryans said after the win.
The No. 2 pick started in every preseason game and averaged 11 of 18 for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception in eight series.
Stroud joins the other two rookie quarterbacks selected in the top five of this year’s draft who also start Week 1 in Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers and Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts.
Capturing the starting position for Stroud was the expected result, since quarterbacks drafted into the top 5 most often start in Week 1 of their rookie season. Since the 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement, 11 of the 17 quarterbacks named in the top 5 have started Week 1.
Stroud entered training camp in a quarterback contest against Davis Mills when both split their reps with starting offense to begin training camp.
But after a week of practice, Stroud parted ways and Ryans gave the rookie quarterback all first-team reps.
The Texans have ranked 31st in QBR (33.3) for the past two seasons and have a 7-26-1 record. Difficulties on the field led them to choose Stroud in hopes that he could become the franchise quarterback they’ve been looking for since trading with former quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Stroud will debut against a Ravens team that has the 2019 MVP in quarterback Lamar Jackson and a defense that ranked third in scoring defense (18.5 per game) in 2022.
Since 2011, the rookie quarterbacks drafted in the top 5 starting Week 1 are 4-6-1 with a 59% completion rate, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.