Everything feels new this year and in the media game it is no different. Cody Stoots used to be on 97.5 FM in the afternoon, but he quit that job to try something new. He wanted to breakout on his own, so he set up his own site Houston Football. It is a part of the Substack network where writers and media creators come together to provide individualized content. Some of it is pay for service, but others allow you to subscribe for free.
I’ve been personally following Cody and his journey in a new medium. He is covering the Houston Texans everyday like a beat reporter, but he is able to offer more commentary on his own than folks that work for the traditional outlets. We wanted to catch up with him during the bye week to talk to him about the state of your Houston Texans.
Battle Red Blog: Obviously, it isn’t literally the halfway point, but the bye week is a good opportunity to look back. What grade are you giving DeMeco Ryans and his staff so far? Are thank pleasant surprises from them so far? What’s one major area of growth you’d like to see from Ryans?
Cody Stoots: I am giving DeMeco Ryans and his staff a grade of B+. I would love to give a grade of A but I can’t quite get there with some hiccups and the rushing attack not quite being there. They have overcome a lot and deserve a tremendous amount of credit. My pleasant surprise has been the offensive line sticking with it protecting the ball. Great job by the staff to help them out and then trust them as they got their footing. I would like to see Ryans adjust a little more in-game, and I think we saw that a little against New Orleans after it was maybe missing against Atlanta.
BRB: Right or wrong, this draft will always be about C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson. What grades are you giving them so far? How would you grade the other guys in this rookie class?
CS: C.J. Stroud gets a grade of A. He’s been awesome. He’s playing like a veteran a lot, and the mistakes he does make don’t show up time and time again. It is really impressive. I knew this was possible in week 16 not week six. Will Anderson gets a grade of A- from me. He’s had a tough task getting the sought-after sacks but the consistent pressure is incredible. There’s clearly a lot special to his game and he’s just starting to rev up.
BRB: if you could pick one unsung hero on each side of the ball who would you pick and why? Are there any other veterans that have surprised you?
CS: For the offense, I will give Robert Woods my unsung hero designation. He does a lot of dirty work and just goes about his business of running crisp routes and getting open. The unsung hero on the defense I will go with Maliek Collins. He is getting pressure and has an unenviable job at defensive tackle. Blake Cashman has to be the biggest veteran surprise. Sure, he played well in training camp but right now he’s the linebacker I trust the most.
BRB: The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching. It’s been awhile since the Texans were in position to add anything midseason? Are you in favor of adding anything or would you rather sit back and wait? Are there any positions in particular that you would target?
CS: I am firmly against being active at this trade deadline. I don’t see where they can actually add someone, pay a reasonable price, and get them acclimated. It is also hard to see who is available right now, the whole league is bunched up. Remember, when you add someone, someone loses their job. They aren’t swapping out any pass catchers. The defensive line room seems set and Hassan Ridgeway is going to eventually return. I suppose if you wanted a backup safety since Eric Murray is hurt you could shop there.
BRB: The Texans have eleven games left including four in the AFC South. After watching the entire league for six weeks, where do you see them falling out by the end of the season? How do you see the AFC South as a division shaking out?
CS: The Texans were thought to be one of the worst teams in football. They will not be that at all. The Texans have a chance at the playoffs by virtue of the AFC South’s guaranteed spot. No college football playoff committee here! The division is their path to the playoffs, but it sure is nice to think there is a chance they would be a wild card team, isn’t it? They have the healthiest quarterback in the division. Their head coach is clearly a high-level guy. They have depth they can rely on. What’s their glaring weakness? Running the ball, but I would take that over the franchise quarterback is hurt (Indianapolis and Jacksonville) or doesn’t have a good quarterback (Tennessee). Vegas won’t tell you they’re the AFC South favorites, and I wouldn’t either, but it’s worth a wager.
We want to thank Cody again for taking the time to answer our questions during this scheduled pause in the season for the Texans. Houston Football is a terrific site and while there is a paywall to get past, it is well worth the cost to get Texans content in multiple forms. Stoots is part of a new media movement where individual contractors break out on their own to provide daily content. We at BRB want to wish him the best of luck and invite you to go to his site to see what he has to offer.