(Photo credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMeco Ryans paused only for a moment to reflect on his first win as an NFL head coach knowing the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to town this week with a goal of wrecking the Houston Texans' rookie quarterback.
The Texans are experiencing "victory Monday" for the first time since Ryans was hired to help fix a team that went 3-13-1 in 2022 thanks to C.J. Stroud's record start. The No. 2 overall pick has 904 passing yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions with a QB rating of 98.0 in his first three starts. He's the first quarterback to ever post that stat line in his first three NFL starts.
"Sky is the limit for C.J.," said Ryans. "He just keeps his head down and keeps working. C.J. is a very humble young man. Everything starts with the quarterback, and we have a good one who's doing really good things. He's improved every week. And that's what I like and admire about C.J. is he's dialed into improvement every week. He's not satisfied. He's been a leader for us as an offensive unit, and it's impressive to see a young man continue to get better each week and lead that group."
Stroud passed for 280 yards with 20 completions and two touchdowns despite playing behind an offensive line with four starters out due to injury. He had 384 passing yards in Week 2 against the Colts.
Three Texans receivers have 15 receptions -- Nico Collins, Tank Dell and Robert Woods -- and 12 players have caught at least one pass for Houston. That doesn't include Stroud, who also has a reception this season.
"I have great guys around me," Stroud said. "Nothing I can do without those guys up front battling, the receiver running the right route at the right depth, (offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik) calling the right plays at the right time."
One of those receivers is tight end Brevin Jordan, who had a TD reception in the 37-17 win at Jacksonville.
"We drafted the right guy. Man, he's a leader," Jordan told ESPN on Sunday. "He's a phenomenal player and a phenomenal guy with God-given talent. Dude, he's unbelievable."
--Field Level Media