Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

2023 Game Preview: Buccaneers-Texans, Week 9

The Bucs face heady rookie QB C.J. Stroud and a rising Texans squad on Sunday as they attempt to get a faster start on offense and end a three-game skid


In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost three of four games in November and hit their bye week in a slump but came out of it on fire, winning the next eight, including Super Bowl LV. In 2021, the Bucs had a less dramatic two-game dip in the middle of the season but then went on a seven-out-of-eight tear before the playoffs. Last season, Tampa Bay lost five times in a six-week span but then won three of four surrounding a bye week to just hold on to the lead in a depressed NFC South.

Seven games into the 2023 season, the Buccaneers would certainly like to find another "get-right" game or stretch of games. After taking control of the South again with a 3-1 start, capped by a blowout win in New Orleans, the Buccaneers hit their bye week then came out of it with a three-game losing streak. Now 3-4, they are a half-game behind both the Saints and Falcons and are in a stretch where they play away from home in six out of eight weeks. The Bucs in recent years have been able to avoid a full-on swoon, and they hope to save this season, too, starting with a Week Nine contest at Houston on Sunday.

That would seem to call for a sense of urgency, but Head Coach Todd Bowles says the Bucs are already in that mode.

"You don't want to say urgency, because we play with urgency," he said. "We've got to play smarter. Obviously, we want to start faster – we've been working on that, as well, doing certain things to do that. We understand that every game is valuable to us. We've just got to focus back on the things we do well and not have the 'M.E.s' (mental errors) and understand what we've got to do to win."

To win the next game, the Buccaneers will have to contend with a rookie quarterback who is playing like a veteran and a DeMeco Ryans-led defense that is beginning to develop a dangerous pass rush. The Texans have also lost two of their last three, including a 15-13 decision against the previously-winless Panthers last Sunday, but their 3-4 record overall is encouraging given that they haven't won more than four games in any of the last three seasons.

That rookie quarterback is C.J. Stroud, the second-overall pick in the draft who has thrown nine touchdown passes against just one interception and has a fine passer rating of 94.9. Stroud's impressive decision-making has helped the Texans log impressive wins over the Jaguars, Steelers and Saints as Houston has fashioned the NFL's 11th-best passing attack. The rookie has found a big-play weapon in breakout receiver Nico Collins, who is averaging 17.5 yards per catch, and has recently made good use of undersized but electric rookie Tank Dell.

Ryans got the head job for one of his former teams as a player thanks to a meteoric rise through the coaching ranks that established him as a defensive guru. The Panthers helped him out in this efforts to build a stifling defense like the one he had in San Francisco by trading back up to the third-overall pick in the draft to get Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson. Anderson is a bookend for Jonathan Greenard, who has 6.0 sacks already, and those two surround an effective inside duo of Maliek Collins and Sheldon Rankins. Anderson has just one sack so far and the Texans rank 24th in sacks per pass play, but Bucs QB Baker Mayfield says that is not representative of the challenge that front poses.

"They have their two edge guys that present their own issues," said Mayfield. "I know they haven't had as many sacks as they want, but they play really hard, so they're always in pursuit. The secondary – I think they react to the ball well, I think they tackle well. We just have to be better on our part with the fundamental [parts] of the offense of taking what is there, breaking some tackles, and then we have our shots, take them."

The Bucs have a shot this weekend to end their three-game slide and even potentially move back into first place in the NFC South. But it will be a challenge: The Texans appear to be a team on the rise and they will also be motivated to right the ship after a tough loss in Week Eight. Only one of these two teams can end up with a get-right game.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) at Houston Texans (3-4)

Sunday, November 5, 1:00 p.m. ET

NRG Stadium (capacity: 71,995)

Houston, Texas

Television: CBS (Local WTSP Channel 10)

TV Broadcast Team: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst), Evan Washburn (reporter)

Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station

Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (sideline)

Spanish Radio: 96.1 Caliente

Spanish Radio Broadcast Team: Carlos Bohorquez (play-by-play), Martin Gramática (analyst)


The arrival of the Houston Texans as the NFL's 32nd team in 2002 prompted the NFL to change its scheduling format to one that relied on rotating divisional matchups. For the Buccaneers, who play in the opposite conference from the Texans, that means their entire series history with the Texans is made up of one date every four years, like clockwork. (The 17th game added in 2021 opens the possibility of additional Bucs-Texans matchups, though none has happened yet.) The Bucs and Texans first met in Tampa in 2003 and that means, 20 years later, it's time for hookup number six, once again at Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay won that first contest in '03 when they were the NFL's defending champion, though it happened to be the last of seven victories for the Buccaneers that season. It was also their last win in the series, as Houston has won the last four. Most recently, the Texans came to Tampa in 2019 and won a back-and-forth contest, 23-20, on a fourth-quarter field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn. The Bucs rallied from 14 points down with a Justin Watson touchdown catch and a Ronald Jones scoring run in the second quarter, but Jameis Winston was picked off four times, including one last time with less than two minutes left in the game.

So Bucs-Texans is a brief history lesson, and before the last game, not a very competitive one. The first five games in the series were all decided by double-digit margins. The expansion Texans were still finding their feet in 2003 when the reigning champs beat them 16-3 to open the series. Running back Thomas Jones had the biggest day of his brief time as a Buccaneer, rushing for 134 yards and the game's only touchdown and Greg Spires sacked backup quarterback Dave Ragone 2.5 times.

Alternately, in 2011, the Texans were on the way to their very first playoff berth while the Buccaneers were limping to a 4-12 finish, and that won ended in Houston's favor, 37-9. Houston scored on the game's first play, an 80-yard Matt Schaub-Jacoby Jones connection and running back Arian Foster did the rest with 186 yards from scrimmage and two scores.

The 2007 meeting in Houston looked as if it had the potential to be tightly-contested, with the 8-4 Buccaneers taking on the 6-7 Texans, but the home team won that one by two touchdowns. The Bucs did go on to the playoffs that year while Houston made it to .500 for the first time in franchise history.

The Buccaneers have been to Houston more than once; their first regular-season game ever, in fact, was in the old Astrodome. But that was against the Houston Oilers, who are now the Tennessee Titans, so that game is technically part of the Bucs-Titans all-time ledger. The Buccaneers played four regular-season games in Houston before the Oilers moved to Nashville and lost them all, so Sunday's trip is, in fact, an opportunity for the franchise's first win in that city.

Also, the Buccaneers and Texans do have an extensive preseason history together. When Houston first joined the league in 2002, the two teams agreed to a nine-year run of preseason games, meeting in the last warm-up game every year through 2010. The teams alternated playing host to those preseason finales, starting with Houston in 2002, so that's five more trips the Buccaneers have made to Texas. Not that it's particularly relevant, but the Buccaneers didwin seven of those nine games, including four of five in Houston.

The most recent game in Houston occurred in September of 2015. Kyle Brindza drilled a 58-yard field goal for the Buccaneers, who were actually winning by a 9-7 score after a Charles Sims touchdown catch. However, Houston scored the game's final 12 points as its offense racked up 30 first downs and running back Alfred Blue ran for 139 yards and a touchdown.


  • Buccaneers Quarterbacks Coach Thaddeus Lewis had a brief stint with the Texans during his NFL playing career. Lewis signed with Houston in November of the 2015 season and finished out that campaign with the team, though he did not see any game action.
  • Texans running back Dare Ogunbowale is with the team that originally signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin in 2017, but it hasn't been an unbroken tenure in Houston, and one of his other NFL stops was in Tampa. After about half a season on the Texans' practice squad in 2017, he was released and then signed by the Buccaneers to their practice squad. He eventually got into 18 games with the Buccaneers in 2018-19, rushing 11 times for 17 yards and two touchdowns and catching 35 passes for 286 yards.
  • Houston defensive lineman Khalil Davis was drafted by the Buccaneers out of Nebraska in the sixth round in 2020. He signed with the Texans during training camp this summer and originally made the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster in late September.
  • Shaq Mason, the Texans' starting right guard, held the same position with the Buccaneers during the 2022 season. The Buccaneers acquired Mason in a trade with the Patriots in March of 2022, and almost exactly a year later traded him to Houston.
  • Houston safety M.J. Stewart began his NFL career as a second-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2018. Stewart played slot corner for the Buccaneers for two seasons, appearing in 21 games with six starts before being waived during training camp in 2020. After two seasons with the Browns, Stewart signed with the Texans in 2022 and has since been converted to safety.
  • Chris Kiffin, the Texans' linebackers coach, is the son of former Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin, who was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium in 2021. Chris Kiffin launched his coaching career with an offseason quality control internship with the Buccaneers in 2006.


Tampa Bay:

  • Head Coach Todd Bowles
  • Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
  • Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales
  • Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers
  • Pass Game Coordinator/Inside Linebackers Coach Larry Foote
  • Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong


  • Head Coach DeMeco Ryans
  • Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik
  • Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke
  • Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross



  • LB SirVocea Dennis (fifth-round draft pick)
  • OLB Yaya Diaby (third-round draft pick)
  • TE Payne Durham (fifth-round draft pick)
  • RB Chase Edmonds (FA)
  • G Matt Feiler (FA)
  • DL Greg Gaines (UFA)
  • CB Josh Hayes (sixth-round draft pick)
  • S Christian Izien (UDFA)
  • WR Rakim Jarrett (UDFA)
  • DL Calijah Kancey (first-round draft pick)
  • G Cody Mauch (second-round draft pick)
  • QB Baker Mayfield (UFA)
  • K Chase McLaughlin (UFA)
  • S Ryan Neal (FA)
  • WR Trey Palmer (sixth-round draft pick)
  • RB Sean Tucker (UDFA)


  • DE Will Anderson (first-round draft pick)
  • FB Andrew Beck (UFA)
  • RB Mike Boone (UFA)
  • WR Noah Brown (UFA)
  • C Michael Deiter (UFA)
  • WR Tank Dell (third-round draft pick)
  • T George Fant (FA)
  • CB Shaquill Griffin (FA)
  • DE Dylan Horton (fourth-round draft pick)
  • WR Xavier Hutchinson (sixth-round draft pick)
  • QB Case Keenum (UFA)
  • G Shaq Mason (T-TB)
  • C Jarrett Patterson (sixth-round draft pick)
  • LB Denzel Perryman (UFA)
  • DT Sheldon Rankins (UFA)
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway (UFA)
  • TE Dalton Schultz (UFA)
  • C Juice Scruggs (second-round draft pick…currently on injured reserve)
  • RB Devin Singletary (UFA)
  • QB C.J. Stroud (first-round draft pick)
  • LB Henry To'oTo'o (fifth-round draft pick)
  • S Jimmie Ward (UFA)
  • WR Robert Woods (FA)



  • Todd Bowles enters his second season as the Bucs' head coach with a new offensive coordinator on his staff. Former Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach Dave Canales takes over for Byron Leftwich, who spent four seasons in that role, the first three under Head Coach Bruce Arians. Canales helped quarterback Geno Smith go from journeyman to the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2022 and has roots in the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay systems.
  • The Buccaneers made a number of other changes to Bowles' staff after the 2022 season, bringing in George Edwards (a former Vikings defensive coordinator) to coach outside linebackers, Brad Idzik to tutor wide receivers, and Skip Peete to take over the running backs room. David Raih and Jordan Somerville also joined the team as senior offensive analyst and assistant quarterbacks coach, respectively. With the arrival of Edwards, defensive Pass Game Coordinator Larry Foote switched from the outside linebacker room to the inside linebacker group. Thaddeus Lewis, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant wide receivers coach, was promoted to quarterbacks coach.
  • After winning a Super Bowl and two division titles over the past three years, the Buccaneers saw an era come to an end when quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement in late January. To move on at the game's most critical position, the Buccaneers brought in former number-one overall draft pick Baker Mayfield to compete with 2021 second-round selection Kyle Trask. Former Ram John Wolford was also added for experienced depth in the quarterback room. Mayfield was named the opening-day starter by Bowles between the second and third preseason games in August.
  • After largely "keeping the band together" for the 2021-22 seasons after their Super Bowl LV victory, the Buccaneers parted ways with a number of prominent players in 2023. Donovan Smith, who occupied the Bucs' starting left tackle spot for eight seasons, was released in March, as were tight end Cameron Brate, running back Leonard Fournette and kicker Ryan Succop. Safety Mike Edwards, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, safety Keanu Neal, defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tackle Josh Wells all found new homes in free agency while defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, wide receiver Julio Jones, outside linebacker Carl Nassib, tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Logan Ryan were not re-signed.


  • The Texans hired a new head coach in 2023 for the third year in a row, replacing Lovie Smith with former San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans. A fast-rising star in the NFL coaching ranks, Ryans is also a former standout linebacker for the Texans, having played six of his 10 seasons in Houston, making two Pro Bowls. Houston will likely end its recent coaching carousel with Ryans, having given him a six-year contract in January. Ryans brought former Niners Passing Game Coordinator Bobby Slowik with him to serve as offensive coordinator and hired former Arizona Cardinals Defensive Line Coach Matt Burke to be his defensive coordinator.
  • While the Texans brought in a number of new players to catch passes – third-round pick Tank Dell, former Cowboys Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown and the well-traveled Robert Woods – they also shipped out their leading pass-catcher from 2022. Houston sent wideout Brandin Cooks to the Cowboys for fifth and sixth-round picks, marking the fourth time in his career that Cooks has been traded.
  • Houston made a huge splash in the 2023 draft, ending up with two of the first three players selected. They invested in a potential franchise quarterback with the second overall pick, taking Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, then doubled down with the consensus best edge rusher in the class with Alabama's Will Anderson at the third pick. To get those back-to-back selections, the Texans had to send a collection of picks to the Arizona Cardinals, including next year's first-rounder. It marked the first time since 2000 that a team had landed two of the first three players in an NFL draft.
  • Houston has had to place 13 players on injured reserve already this season, including cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and wide receiver Noah Brown. The team has been hit especially hard at center, where they have already lost three starters or potential starters. To start training camp, the position looked to be up for grabs between veteran Scott Quessenberry and second-round draft pick Juice Scruggs. Instead, both Quessenberry and Scruggs ended up on injured reserve. That gave the job to sixth-round rookie Jarrett Patterson, who started the first seven games but is now also on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury last Sunday against the Panthers. The Texans now turn to former Dolphin Michael Deiter to handle the pivot.



DNP: Did not participate in practice

LP: Limited participation in practice

FP: Full participation in practice

NL: Not listed


  • LB Lavonte David (rest) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • WR Mike Evans (rest) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • G Matt Feiler (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • DL Logan Hall (groin) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • S Christian Izien (illness) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • TE Ko Kieft (ankle) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • QB Baker Mayfield (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • S Kaevon Merriweather (ankle) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • DL Vita Vea (groin) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • T Tristan Wirfs (quadriceps) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.


  • LB Blake Cashman (wrist) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • T George Fant (foot/shoulder) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • CB Ka'dar Hollman (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • T Tytus Howard (knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • T Josh Jones (hand) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • TE Brevin Jordan (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • LB Denzel Perryman (hand/wrist) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • RB Dameon Pierce (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
  • DT Sheldon Rankins (knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Questionable.
  • CB Tavierre Thomas (hand) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • T Laremy Tunsil (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • S Jimmie Ward (rest) – WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
  • WR Robert Woods (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP. Game Status: Out.


Domed stadium. Outside: High of 80, low of 65, 7% chance of rain, 67% humidity, winds out of the SE at 15 mph.


Head referee: Land Clark (sixth season, fourth as referee)


  • Favorite: Texans (-2.5)
  • Over/Under: 40.0



Points Scored: K Chase McLaughlin, 45

Touchdowns: WR Mike Evans, 5

Passing Yards: QB Baker Mayfield, 1,600

Passer Rating: QB Baker Mayfield, 89.5

Rushing Yards: RB Rachaad White, 305

Receptions: WR Chris Godwin, 38

Receiving Yards: WR Mike Evans, 507

Interceptions: Dee Delaney/S Christian Izien, 2

Sacks: DL Vita Vea, 3.5

Tackles: LB Lavonte David, 67


Points Scored: K Ka'imi Fairbairn, 64

Touchdowns: WR Nico Collins/TE Dalton Schultz, 3

Passing Yards: QB C.J. Stroud, 1,800

Passer Rating: QB C.J. Stroud, 94.9

Rushing Yards: RB Dameon Pierce, 327

Receptions: WR Nico Collins, 33

Receiving Yards: WR Nico Collins, 577

Interceptions: CB Steven Nelson, 3

Sacks: DE Jonathan Greenard, 6.0

Tackles: LB Henry To'oTo'o, 48



Scoring Offense: 28th (17.3 ppg)

Total Offense: 23rd (298.3 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 30th (77.9 ypg)

Passing Offense: 17th (220.4 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: 28th (17.0)

Third-Down Pct.: 14th (40.6%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 4th (4.45%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: 28th (41.2%)

Scoring Defense: t-6th (18.3 ppg)

Total Defense: 25th (354.6 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 10th (98.6 ypg)

Passing Defense: 28th (256.0 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: t-18th (19.9)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 32nd (50.5%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 21st (6.98%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 1st (27.7%)

Turnover Margin: 1st (+8)


Scoring Offense: 20th (21.1 ppg)

Total Offense: 17th (330.4 ypg)

Rushing Offense: 23rd (91.9 ypg)

Passing Offense: 11th (238.6 ypg)

First Downs Per Game: t-20th (19.0)

Third-Down Pct.: 7th (44.0%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 11th (6.30%)

Red Zone TD Pct.: 26th (43.5%)

Scoring Defense: t-6th (18.3 ppg)

Total Defense: 18th (335.4 ypg)

Rushing Defense: 11th (99.3 ypg)

Passing Defense: 23rd (236.1 ypg)

First Downs Allowed Per Game: 22nd (20.1)

Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 27th (44.3%)

Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 24th (6.12%)

Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 7th (45.8%)

Turnover Margin: t-6th (+5)


  • Wide receiver Mike Evans recorded his fifth touchdown reception of the season against Buffalo in Week Eight, giving him 86 in his career, which ties for the 17th most in NFL history. One more and he would tie Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Reed for 16th place. Two more would move him into a tie for 15th place with another Hall of Famer, Don Maynard.
  • Wide receiver Chris Godwin grabbed his first touchdown catch in Buffalo, which allowed him to tie Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles for third in team history in terms of total TDs scored and tie Cameron Brate for third in team history in touchdown receptions. Godwin currently has 34 touchdowns on his resume (33 receiving and one rushing), while Giles has 34, all receiving, and Brate has 33, all receiving. His next TD would break those ties.
  • The Buccaneers will try to record their first-ever victory in Houston on Sunday. Tampa Bay is 0-6 in regular-season games played in that city, 0-4 against the former Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) and 0-2 against the Texans. Houston is one of the three remaining NFL cities in which the Bucs are still seeking their first win, along with Buffalo and Nashville.
  • LB Lavonte David has 39 tackles over the Bucs' last three games, which has pushed his career total to 1,411. He needs just 18 more tackles to pass Hall of Fame cornerback Rondé Barber (1,428) for second place on the Bucs' all-time list.
  • Defensive lineman Will Gholston played in his 160th career game last week, all with the Buccaneers. That tied him with former Pro Bowl center Tony Mayberry for the seventh most games played in franchise history. His next start will give him sole possession of that spot.


  • Head Coach Todd Bowles onwhat the Bucs' secondary has to do to be in position to generate more turnovers: "We've got to attack the ball. We've got to see it, number one. Our vision has to expand. In man[-to-man], it's a little tough, but we've played a lot of zone, so we should be able to get more breaks on the football. We've been working on that all week."
  • Quarterback Baker Mayfield on the frustration of starting games slowly on offense: "Really frustrating. I keep saying it, but it's the truth… You look at the film on some of these first drives that we've had, and some of the slow first halves overall – just shooting ourselves in the foot, whether it's a penalty, whether it's one guy off in the run game, having a penalty in the run game, not hitting the third-down conversion on my part, just being on the same page. It's all things in our control. There's a positive to that but it's also frustrating because you go through the whole week and you should have the gameplan down. You've got to – even more so – be on the same page on the first drive – go out there, execute, let our defense pin their ears back and go hunt."
  • Defensive lineman Vita Vea on what stands out to him about the Houston Texans: "C.J. Stroud, he's a rookie – most rookie quarterbacks, when you see them, you see them struggle in their first year. You don't see that in C.J. It definitely makes it harder on us. He's been doing a good job this year. He's probably one of the best out of all the rookie quarterbacks that are playing right now. It'll definitely be a big challenge for us."
  • Bowles on seeing how successful RB Rachaad White is as a pass catcher but having trouble getting him into open space in the run game:"That part has been a struggle – getting him in open space – but the short passing game has kind of helped that and added to the run game in that aspect. However we can get him in open space, we're going to try to get him in open space. If they're taking away the run where he can't, the passing game part where he can helps out a lot. It's something that's opened up for us and we've got to take advantage of it."
  • Offensive Coordinator Dave Canales on how QB Baker Mayfield is doing and if he's sensing any change in his approach: "I see urgency, but I think especially in the last two weeks, I see a guy that's mature – that's handling it the right way. He's coming to work with a professional attitude. He's been really challenging guys – challenging young guys, challenging different players and [saying], 'Let's go. Let's start heading in the right direction.' I feel like he's doing it the right way. His language isn't demeaning, it's challenging – there's a difference. As far as his own work, he's just consistent. Every single day, he's going through his checklist, going through his situations. We have those conversations. I definitely see a guy who's maturing – I don't know what he was like before, but he's showing me he's handling it the right way."
  • Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers on Texans QB C.J. Stroud: "When you watch them, they're doing a great job with this young quarterback. We've played a couple of young quarterbacks this year, but when you watch them, he is actually playing quarterback. We play some young quarterbacks where it's run, run throw. It's very vanilla and by the book. With this guy, watching him on film, he gets the whole gamut. He's [not] just throwing flat routes – he's throwing over the middle, he's throwing it deep, he's utilizing all of his weapons and then he can make plays with his feet if he has too. He is truly playing quarterback. Us, as a defensive staff sitting there evaluating, we think he has a bright future. They're doing a great job implementing him into their scheme and he is doing a great job playing quarterback."

Related Content

Latest Headlines