The spotlight was blinding on Thursday night, but for Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, it was all part of the learning curve. Making his preseason debut, Stroud found himself facing a mixture of challenges, trials, and lessons.
Though his statistics for the night were modest, going 2-for-4 with only 13 yards and an interception, his determination to grow and learn was palpable. The Texans managed to secure a victory, defeating the New England Patriots 20-9, but for Stroud, the night was more about personal growth.
"I see it as a learning opportunity," he mused, reflecting on his interception to Patriots safety Jalen Mills. Analyzing the error, Stroud noted, "I seen a certain look to where I knew in film, that they could run that to where the safety, if his man blocks, he'll come off and really be locked into my eyes.
I just lost track of that and just forced it. Should have just checked it down to Dalton [Schultz]."
Coaches Stand by Their Number 2 Pick
Texans' coach DeMeco Ryans was quick to support his young quarterback. Not displaying even an iota of concern, Ryans took a long-term perspective, emphasizing the invaluable nature of live game experience. "We all have things to clean up and get better at, but I thought it was a good first outing," Ryans said confidently.
He went on to commend Mills' interception, noting the veteran's sharp skills. "With the interception, I think Mills made a really nice play, veteran player," Ryans added. In the high-octane world of the NFL, mistakes are not just inevitable—they're expected.
But it's not the errors that define a player; it's their response. As Ryans highlighted, "That's why we do preseason. That's why it's important to get live game reps, so you can see how can you come out and improve, where can you improve, what do I need to do different next time on those certain plays." C.J.
Stroud might have taken his first steps into the NFL arena, but with the right mindset and strong backing from his coaches, he promises to be a force to be reckoned with. As the preseason progresses, both the Texans and their fans will be closely watching the young quarterback's evolution.
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