Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is a perfectionist. He prides himself on making the right plays every time he touches the football field.
That is why Sunday’s season opener loss against the Baltimore Ravens bothered him so much after the game. Stroud took his first NFL career defeat very personally because he believed he could have done a better job while on the field.
“Got to just be better overall myself,” said Stroud during his postgame press conference. “I have to make more plays. We had some positive things, but we just have to keep going from here and keep getting better.”
Stroud finished the game with 242 yards passing but could not lead the Texans into the end zone as they settled for three field goals on the day. Although he did not get the desired outcome, he was reassured by the veterans on the team that there were more games on the schedule, so take the positives into Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts.
“Seeing a guy like seven [Stroud], I will play for him any day,” said Texans DL Jonathan Greenard. “He is my quarterback, and I have the utmost confidence in him because he cares about it that much.” #Texans #Sarge @jongreenard7 @CJ7STROUD @TheTexansWire pic.twitter.com/dCzGd8pVnD
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) September 13, 2023
“I know the mentality that he comes to practice with every single day,” Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard said about Stroud. “Seeing a guy like seven [Stroud], I will play for him any day. He is my quarterback, and I have the utmost confidence in him because he cares about it that much. You see how down he is on himself because he is a perfectionist.
“But if you look in the grand scheme of things, bro [Stroud], you just played your first NFL game in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Take your punches and roll with them, but also understand the small victories you had in within there so you don’t get down on yourself. You can always critique things, but by the same token, you are a great player and deserve to be here [NFL].”
The Ravens made sure they left a lasting impression on the rookie as they constantly pressured him, eventually leading to five sacks on the day and one fumble. Even with the constant chaos, Stroud was able to complete 63.6% of his passes, which garnered the praises of Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen.
“Poise,” Queen responded when asked about Stroud’s demeanor. “Obviously, it is his first real game, and he made some great throws and scrambles, stepping up in the pocket, doing all those things to try and help his team win. I think in the future they have themselves a great quarterback.”