It was just one week ago that we were discussing the Houston Texans disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers. The team came out flat after coming off a big win over the Saints heading into the off week.
Stroud picked a bad week to have his worst performance of the season, as many pointed to this game to once again proclaim Bryce Young as the best QB in the 2023 draft class.
Skip Bayless was one of many to bring up this narrative to dismiss Stroud and the Texans. Credit to Keyshawn Johnson for sticking to his guns and disagreeing with Skip. Keyshawn made the simple point that he's not going to judge a player's body of work off of one game.
Which makes even more sense in this discussion, as that one game is the only win Bryce Young and the Panthers have all season.
It's interesting how watching Stroud play just one more game can completely change a narrative. While what Stroud did against Tampa Bay is impressive, what's more exciting is the pattern that we're starting to see. It began against the Falcons. Stroud didn't have his best game, but he did give his team the lead with a TD pass to Dalton Schultz with 1:49 remaining in the game.
The Texans defense was unable to hold the lead and lost on a last second field goal. Something similar happened in the Panthers loss. Stroud led a TD drive at the end of the 3rd quarter to put the Texans ahead.
Once again, the Texans defense surrendered a field goal in the 4th quarter and lost the game. To be fair, scoring 13 points against the Panthers is nothing to be excited about, but we are seeing a pattern from Stroud of leading his team on successful TD drives late in games.
Fast-forward to Stroud's unbelievable TD drive with 46 seconds left against the Bucs, and now we're starting to see the big picture. This dude is clutch with the ball in his hands late in games.
It also helps to add more context to the discussion, as Bryce Young was terrible against the Colts on Sunday. He threw 3 interceptions, 2 that were returned for TDs, and his team fell to 1-7 on the season. For the foreseeable future, the Stroud-Young debate is over. Now we're to the point where people are questioning if Stroud is already a Top 10 QB in the NFL, that should receive MVP consideration.
A lot can happen in a week.
But we know from what I mentioned above, this isn't an overnight success. Stroud has been building this narrative for weeks. Not just with late game heroics. But with quality wins over potential playoff teams like the Saints (5-4), and Steelers (5-3). Not to mention a twenty point win over the Jaguars (6-2).
Back to Skip
Editor's note: The CJ Stroud discussion begins at the 1:03 mark in the video above.
Basically, it took one week for Skip to change his tune on Stroud and call him a Top 10 QB. Though Bayless doesn't want to give up on Young becoming a quality QB at some point, he is no longer making a case for Young over Stroud. He argues that CJ is in a better environment than Young, but he can't argue against what he's seeing from the Texans young QB.
Bayless later made an interesting point, saying if Martians came to Earth not knowing anything about football and just going by the eye test, they may view Stroud as a Top 3 QB based on how he's playing.
Now that's bold.
Skip didn't see this type of upside when CJ played at Ohio State, but he clearly sees it now. And Skip is a guy that sticks to his opinions longer than anyone, even when the evidence is undeniable.
He held on to his Tim Tebow take way past anyone else, so it's fascinating to see him back off his Stroud stance so quickly.
Which should make us realize, what Stroud is putting on tape, can't be dismissed. Even for the biggest contrarian in sports media.
Nov 30, 2023, 4:56 pm
When Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were drafted with the first two picks of the NFL Draft, we knew they would be compared to one another for years to come.
And here we are just 11 games into the season and one quarterback has already seen his head coach fired. Panthers owner David Tepper spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed his decision to fire Frank Reich, and also set the record straight on how they arrived at the decision to draft Young.
In so many words, Tepper basically blamed the Texans for how the top of the draft played out. He mentioned Stroud by name and said the Panthers were ready to draft him at No. 2 overall until the Texans backed out of the three-team trade with the Bears.
Tepper made a point of saying everyone in their building had Bryce Young as the top player on their draft board, despite rumors about Frank Reich preferring Stroud.
CJ Stroud and the Texans have been so much better than Bryce Young and the Panthers that Tepper clearly felt it was necessary to defend himself, and the decisions he's made for the organization.
In the end, the person that gets the worst end of the deal is Bryce Young. Coaching changes can be very difficult on young quarterbacks. And it looks like he'll have to learn a new offense in his second year when the Panthers hire a new coaching staff.
How fortunate we are as Texans fans to have DeMeco Ryans and CJ Stroud leading the team moving forward.
With all of this in mind, is there a reason Texans fans haven't fully bought in to the new-look Texans? JJ Watt was a guest on The Pat McAfee Show this week and was asked about the team's inability to fill the stadium on Sundays.
As a former player for the Colts, McAfee always thought Houston had the loudest and best fans in the NFL. And while the Texans are 9th in attendance this year according to ESPN, even CJ Stroud has asked for the fans to fill the stadium.
So there is something to it. You can see the empty seats in photos. So why aren't the Texans packing NRG with a shiny new franchise QB?
We believe the recent history of the team is why fans are slowly coming back. McAfee wasn't here for:
Bill O'Brien cussing at fans during games
Trading DeAndre Hopkins away for next to nothing
The Jack Easterby disaster
Deshaun Watson allegedly blaming ownership for why he wanted out
The Deshaun Watson scandal
Firing back-to-back coaches after one season, and the list goes on.
Don't miss the video above for the full conversation!
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