Ken Hoffman on why Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud is the best in the NFL — period
We love our quarterback in Houston. And for good reason. C.J. Stroud is lighting up the league and led the Texans to a 45-14 absolute demolition of the Cleveland Browns in the post-season wild card. It's all good.
But let’s be real: This is Houston. We’ve all watched thousands of football games. We’re not giddy high schoolers. We've seen bubbles burst in Houston.
That's why I’m not saying that Stroud is as good as the NFL’s brightest star quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and others.
I’m saying that Stroud is better.
I’m not talking careers, or 10 years ago or 10 years from now. I’m saying right now — last week and next Saturday in Baltimore where the Texans will face the No. 1 seed Ravens.
No. 7 is No. 1
Give me Stroud over any quarterback still alive in the playoffs. And that includes the Ravens' odds-on favorite for league MVP Lamar Jackson. Just look at the comments:
You don’t need to google NFL passer statistics. All you need is two eyes. Have you ever seen a quarterback throw a more accurate pass than Stroud does? Or make all the right moves like Stroud? Who squeezes the most of his and his teammates’ abilities? Who has taken this Texans team and the city of Houston to a place nobody dared to dream a season ago?
Last weekend, Stroud and the Texans faced the favored Cleveland Browns, their heralded pass defense and seasoned, grizzled quarterback Joe Flacco in the AFC wild card. Flacco was one of the most successful post-season quarterbacks — ever. Stroud was … you might have heard he’s a rookie. Everything is the first time for him.
The rookie dusts the season veteran
Flacco entered NRG Stadium as a 38-year-old veteran. In some parts of the country — and definitely on the Maury Povich Show — he was old enough to be Stroud’s father.
When the smoke cleared, Flacco was a beaten mall walker throwing dying quails and multiple pick-sixes. He looked like someone needing to call an Uber to escape a dangerous part of town.
Meanwhile all Stroud did was throw for 274 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a shimmering 157.2 passer rating. Or as we’ve come to know it, just another day at the office for Stroud. He barely made it to the fourth quarter before head coach DeMeco Ryans pushed the pity button and pulled him.
Stroud is the model of precision efficiency. Throws touchdowns. Doesn’t throw interceptions. Dinks and dunks. Hurls bombs. It’s fun to watch on TV when the screen shows Stroud releasing the ball and we cut to Camera 2 to find a Texans receiver tracking the pass like NORAD.
In the Texans’ playoff-clinching game, he effortlessly unloaded a long-distance missile to Nico Collins on the first play of the game, the ball spiraled 60 yards in the air, like they were playing catch in the backyard.
What Stroud doesn’t do is almost as important. You don’t see him risking injury for an extra yard that isn’t critical. You don’t see him risking interceptions by flinging the ball backwards over his head to avoid a sack. You don’t see him making dumb decisions. You don’t hear him boastin’ and braggin’ like a crazy person on ESPN.
C.J. Stroud does a lot of things. He just doesn’t do stupid.
What do you love most about C.J. Stroud? Let Ken know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.