The Quarterback Battle's End Draws Near
The actions speak louder than the lack of words
C.J. Stroud is winning the Texans quarterback battle.
He might have already won it.
Stroud has taken all his reps in the past three practices with the first team. What was once a rotation, is now down to just one quarterback. Already gone are the days when Davis Mills would go first on any given day. “The rotation” DeMeco Ryans spoke of since the offseason is finished.
Actions speak louder than words, and announcements.
It would be nice to have Ryans step to the podium ahead of the first preseason game and make it official. It doesn't seem likely to occur soon. Ryans has avoided a direct answer when pressed on Stroud taking all the reps with the first team. He’s settled on saying the quarterback has improved but a lot of players have improved. When asked if Stroud was where he wanted him to be Ryans said he wouldn’t know until games are played.
The first preseason game is days away. I would be surprised if Stroud doesn’t start and play a fair amount. The early portion of the evaluation is done. Stroud has won the battle based on the team’s actions.
While we all wait for the official announcement, let’s look at how Stroud won the job.
Thanks for reading Houston Football! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Nick Caserio was asked a year ago about timetables as an evaluator of young quarterbacks. While Caserio talked about a long timetable, sometimes 18-24 months, the back part of his answer stood out in evaluating Stroud in the early days of training camp.
“I think the word you want to use more than anything is consistency,” Caserio said in 2022. “Can a player be consistent with what his job or what he’s asked to do, understanding there’s going to be some bumps in the road, there’s going to be some ups and downs. But are you not a repeater, are you doing the same thing over and over and making the corrections? Are you improving as a player, that’s the most important thing.”
Stroud was consistent early in camp. He made mistakes a few practices later. After the second day off, Stroud came back and stacked his three best practices. He wasn’t a repeater. He was consistent.
Now he’s the starter. Unofficially.
Saturday was another showcase of Stroud’s skills. He was poised in the pocket, even when it got messy. The accuracy was evident. The mistakes were small. A third consecutive day of good quarterbacking. The consistency that’s been lacking for this team at its most important position.
It’s the first step for C.J. Stroud as he hopefully ascends to the franchise quarterback level. How long will that take? Well, we have an idea of how long it takes Nick Caserio to figure it out.
“Everybody goes in different cycles. It could be a few months, it could be a few weeks, it could be a full cycle of a full year. There’s no timetable. You take the information and you process, you asses it and you make a good decision. We don’t have all day, the clock is spinning. Within a 18-24 month period, you have some idea of where you think a player is or is not going to be. It doesn’t mean it can’t change. There could be something that happened earlier that slows that progress. There’s no timetable, there’s nothing specific. It’s an accumulation of things over the course of time.”