In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, but C.J. Stroud made the first start of his professional career against the Ravens back in September.
Stroud finished that game 28-of-44 passing for 242 yards as the Texans fell 25-9.
But there’s plenty of reason to believe Saturday’s divisional-round matchup between Houston and Baltimore will be different, in large part due to the Texans' progression as a team from early September to mid-January.
“I think we’ve grown in a multitude of areas,” Stroud said in his Tuesday press conference. "I think at that point, we weren’t really identified as who we are now, and we’ve grown in a lot of aspects. A lot more experience up front now, both offensively, defensively, and special teams, so I think we’ve grown in a lot of places.”
As for Stroud personally, he said he’s grown in every aspect of “just operating as an NFL player.”
“It’s different than college, especially off the field,” Stroud said. “Just having more time on your hands and just really being a professional. I think my coaches have done a good job helping me along with my vets and things like that, so I’ve grown in a lot of different places.”
The Ravens will present plenty of challenges for Stroud this weekend, but the quarterback is better equipped to handle what he called “a really good team.”
“They do blitz a lot, they do have a lot of different simulated pressures,” Stroud said. “So, seeing it Week 1 is definitely good, and I tried to fix those problems that we had then, which I think we’ve done, and just really play our game.”