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Analyzing Texans QB C.J. Stroud’s Week Six Performance Against the Saints

Using Amazon’s Next Gen Stats to examine Stroud’s rookie season.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been almost two weeks since the Houston Texans took the field in a commanding win over the New Orleans Saints, but the paint has yet to fully dry on the win to get the team to .500.

This game does feature C.J. Stroud first career interception. It had to come at some point, and honestly the Saints with their putrid offense are one of the better teams for it to happen against.

Stroud was less active this game as Bobby Slowik’s gameplan was to control the tempo of the game by rushing the ball 31 times. Devin Singletary and Dameon Pierce having as many rushing attempts as Stroud does passing attempts indicates the offense is on schedule and they are moving the ball down the field efficiently.

Let’s get into the analysis brought to you by Next Gen Stats:

Weeks Four and Five

Week Six:

  • Red zone mania: both of Stroud’s TDs were thrown inside the 10 hardline. He did have two other drives inside the 10 that led to a field goal, but those both required him to scramble out of the pocket to avoid pressure. He was able to stay in collapsed pockets on both TDs to find the open player in tight coverage.
  • Time and space: New Orleans only hit Stroud three times all game and sacked him once. However, Stroud was constantly evading pass rushers with his feet. The graphic won’t show it, but Stroud had some of his best passes to the right side of the field while scrambling out of the pocket.
  • Dump it: several times Stroud dumped the ball off to his RB or TE Brevin Jordan for positive gains. The play to Brevin was a first down pass that went for 12 yards. Those are the types of plays that kill pass rush and opens up the rest of the offense.
  • Hit ‘em low, hit ‘em high: Stroud’s two areas of attack were quick throws at the line of scrimmage and deep down the field attacking their safeties. This is fairly different than what we’ve seen in previous weeks.
  • Limited sidelines: opponents are adjusting. Compared to past weeks, Stroud rarely targeted the sidelines on dig routes or curl routes.
  • Mid-field issues: as mentioned before, Stroud wasn’t targeting the 10-20 yard range. He was also inaccurate when doing so going 1-5 on the day.
  • Average Intended Air Yards (IAY): 8.9 (10th).
  • Air Yards to The Sticks (AYTS): 0.1 (ninth).

Analysis: Overall, it feels like Stroud is settling in. Not only is his passing route tree developing, he’s getting the team in the end zone earlier in the game. Houston was able to control the game from the start by putting up 17 points in the first half. What teams are doing is taking away the easy stuff near the sidelines and throws over the middle of the field that were his favorites early in the season. Now, he’s adjusting to the adjustments; a process that will continue throughout his career.

The interception was due to him zoning in on one receiver and not seeing the zone play out. The best news probably thus far of the season is this: directly after throwing the interception Stroud led the Texans to a touchdown, a field goal, and a touchdown. THAT is what you want to see from your rookie QB after their worst play thus far. If you take anything away from this article, let that be the one piece you tell your friends about.