Texans QB C.J. Stroud


August 10, 2023


CS: I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Kind of a crazy opportunity to be able to go out, my first NFL stadium, my first NFL game, and just a lot of things that I’ve been through to just get to that moment. It was just special. Of course just wish I didn’t make one mistake on one certain play, but other than that, I thought I played solid. Felt good to get hit again and just get back in the groove. I just think that’s what preseason is for. It’s important to just get back and put your feet back in the water. Of course I’m not super excited how I played. I didn’t get to play a lot. But just get my feet in the water, learn from my mistakes and just keep growing.


Q: That one throw you’d like back, what did you learn from that and what did you see?

CS: Just trust my eyes. I saw a certain look to where I knew on film that they could run that to where the safety, if his man blocks that he’ll come off and really be locked into my eyes. Just lost track of that, and just forced it and should have just checked it down to Dalton [Keene]. But it was a great play by 2 [Jalen Mills], by kind of just hiding out. He was kind of ducking low, so I didn’t really see him. I thought I threw a good pass, but of course it wasn’t. Hell of a play by No. 2, and just put that in my back pocket and learn from it.


Q: You’ve talked before about processing the mistake and then learning from it. How do you go about that, to turn off the mistake but also not just put it away and learn from it?

CS: Yeah, it’s about accountability. Just being accountable for myself and my mistake and learning from it. That’s honestly what’s been OTAs and camp for me. I’ve thrown a couple interceptions and I’ve thrown a couple touchdowns, and you don’t ever want to ride the highs or ride the lows. You want to just stay even keeled. That’s what I plan to do is just learn from everything, learn from the good and the bad. I have a bunch of vets in there to help me every day with that type of stuff, and all of them are having nothing but great things to say, that I handled it well. It’s not easy to come to New England as a rookie and go in there and try to execute. But they felt like I did a decent job at that, so I’ve just got to keep growing.


Q: What might have you have done differently now that you know –

CS: You’re talking about when I was out there?


Q: Yeah, the play you described, the interception in particular.

CS: I mean, yeah, it’s easy to say what I can do now, but yeah, if I could do it over again, I’d just take the check down. That look isn’t superb for what I threw. Just got to be better on my part. Got to make a play smarter and not put my defense in a bad situation, put them right in field goal range, and that’s my mistake. Even though I’m a rookie, still trying to play as a vet and play sound football and not only protect my offense but to protect the defense, as well. Yeah, I would have just checked it down to Dalton after he checked flat and punted and hopefully got another drive.


Q: I know you’re a competitive person, but how do you manage the mistakes you make any preseason now? How are you managing all of that?

CS: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s tough. I mean, the competitor in me was like, ‘Coach, let me go back out there, let me fix my wrongdoings.’ But like you said, it is just the preseason, and it’s a learning opportunity for myself, really this whole football team. It was good to kind of see the second group in there. Davis [Mills] did a great job, led them right down, and then Tank [Dell] made a couple great plays that we’ve known Tank to do. Then Case [Keenum] goes in there and caps it off. That’s really what camp has been about, man, just uplifting each other, them learning from my mistakes, I’m learning from their mistakes, and we’re just helping and growing each other. It’s tough trying to – yeah, I want the play back and I want to be perfect, but that is what this camp and preseason is for, just to make mistakes, so when it comes to regular season, I don’t make those anymore.


Q: What was it like game planning those drives that you had today with Bobby Slowik, before, during?

CS: Yeah, Bobby is really smart, and he had a pretty good idea on what they thought they were going to do. Not trying to put too much out there, but we didn’t really get what we thought, going out there, and just had to make a couple curve balls, and he did a great job by keep calling it and just trusting us as quarterbacks just to take care of the football after my mistake. Bobby did a great job of not having to lot to work with because preseason is tough. You really don’t know who’s playing, who they’re playing or if they changed anything. We had a solid plan and we kept to it, and I think we had a pretty decent day offensively, except for me.


Q: How tough will you be on yourself? How many times will you look at what you did? How tough are you when you critique yourself, good or bad?

CS: Yeah, I always say when you watch the film it’s never as good as it is or it’s never as bad as it seems. I know I did some good things out there that got my feet wet and took a couple hits, and it felt good to be back out there and play football again. But yeah, I’m critical on myself. I don’t want to make any mistakes, but that is what being a quarterback and being a rookie quarterback is. But I hold myself to a different standard, and I know that the guys in the locker room aren’t going to hold me down for this. They know what I can do. They’ve seen it in practice every day. I think I’ve made a lot of plays and done a lot of great things. One mistake on national television blows it all up, but like it’s cool, I just keep growing, keep learning. It’s a fun experience for me. I’m in the NFL; there’s nothing to hold my head down about. I’ve dreamed about this moment my whole life, and God is teaching me something even now. I’m super blessed just to be able to be a Houston Texan and work with the special guys that not only just help me every day but tell me it’s not just about me and it’s not just, ‘C.J. is going to save the Texans’; it’s I’m going to help with that whole cause. Just excited to do that, and I have a great group of people around me.


Q: You mentioned Tank Dell briefly. What did you think about that catch, that touchdown catch, and just overall his –

CS: Yeah, that’s just a glimpse of what he can do. He’s showed so much already in camp. I think me and him kind of have a natural connection. Of course going all the way back into the combine, me and him have early conversations, and now fast forward we’re on the same team, and that play was a great release, good ball by Davis [Mills], back shoulder, and it was good focus because it always is different when you’re out there. It’s not going to just be catch, touchdown. It’s going to be bang-bang. He kept with it, which I’m really happy for him, and yeah, he made a lot of good plays. He’s a great player. I can’t wait to see what we do together.


Q: Facing pressure from the defense, the elements, the rain, how much of all of that did you kind of experience and take away from that?

CS: Yeah, it was kind of funny, I was talking to my mom about this, but it feels like every first game I’ve had in my career has been a rainy game, back in college and in high school. It’s just something that God puts me through, and I’ve got to work through it. Yeah, it was good to be in that type of element, though. That’s NFL football, those harsh environments, how do you handle it. I thought if I got some more at-bats and got to be out there a little bit more, I definitely thought I could have got in a better rhythm, but they wanted to protect me, make sure I was all right, so they pulled me out, and it was what it was. I don’t ever go against coaching or anything like that, and I think that as I just keep growing and keep building, keep getting more reps and game live reps under my belt, the better I’ll become, and I’m just excited for the future, man. This is a young promising team, I feel, and I’m just really happy and blessed to be a part of this.


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