Texans QB C.J. Stroud, DE Will Anderson fuel confidence in the turnaround
Analyzing the Houston Texans was difficult from 2021-22. There wasn’t much to readily identify as catalytic to the team’s success.
There were technical aspects of how the team could be successful. If only Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme could effectively rush the passer or generate enough takeaways, or if the offense found a way to convert third downs, maybe Houston could stay competitive with the seventh playoff spot as their ceiling. Instead the Texans floundered with 4-13 and 3-13-1 finishes.
According to Cody Benjamin from CBS Sports, the arrival of quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson, who both went Nos. 2-3 in the 2023 NFL draft, has engendered confidence that the Texans are at last making a turnaround.
C.J. Stroud at QB and Will Anderson Jr. at pass rusher represent the biggest long-term bets this team has made since  during what amounted to a forfeited 2021-2022 slog. They’ve still gone a little heavy on free-agent leftovers to fill the lineup; Stroud’s protection and weapons are just so-so. But at least there’s hope for the future, especially with the fresh mind of DeMeco Ryans at the helm of the staff.
With Stroud, it is easy to say that the Texans have upgraded their passing attack, which bodes well for the offense. Factor in running back Dameon Pierce, and Houston is as close to being two-dimensional as they have been since 2019.
Anderson also provides a target for disruption off the edge. If the NFL is built around the passing game, then those who stop the pass have to gain notoriety when they are successful. Even if Anderson isn’t racking up sacks, so long as safety Jalen Pitre and cornerback Derek Stingley are picking off errant decisions, the perception of Anderson’s presence will be evident.
Even if the Texans’ turnaround is mostly driven by the offense, Ryans will also get tremendous credit for being a fan favorite on the sidelines.
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