The bottom fell out on C.J. Stroud’s miraculous run. His three interceptions on Sunday were more than his entire season total thus far. Oh the woes, ebbs, and flows of a rookie QB. It’s been more than exceptionally quiet compared to the riff riff in Carolina and Tennessee. Hard to complain about Stroud’s season, but three in one game is a eye catching. This brings us to our Groupthink of the week:
We just witnessed C.J. Stroud’s worst performance thusfar as a rookie. Are you concerned about him falling back to earth or think that was more of rookie-year mistakes?
It’s a little of both. There will be some regression to the mean, but the mean will also improve. He will learn from these mistakes but there have been some turnover worthy throws that have been dropped as well. The really good news is that he has experienced success and adversity but is 6-2 since Slowik really started taking the training wheels off. When you can be successful while making mistakes it gives you the confidence to keep making those tough throws that few can make. I think the arrow is pointed up for no other reason than they have 100+ million to spend and at least some of that will come on the offensive end. Add a Saquan Barkley or Mike Evans to this offense. I’m not saying they are signing either guy or that they even should, but they could. They have the money and Houston isn’t a dumpster fire anymore. Stroud makes this a destination. Add just one impact skill position guy to what is already here and this offense is a top five offense. In the meantime, we all knew he wouldn’t throw only one or two picks. All the greats have bad games. I’ll be interested to see what happens this next week.
In one sense, Stroud was probably due a game like there, where he shows that he is a) mortal and b) a rookie. Even before he finally threw the 1st INT, he had been close to getting picked in a number of other games. It happens. Of the INTs, one was a rookie “heat check” (the 1st half INT), one was more the receiver than Stroud (see the deflection from Woods) and the other was as much good defense as a bad decision (last INT). He could be a six year perennial All-Pro and still have games like that. Now, if he multiple games in a row with multiple INTs…might be concerned. Until then, expect that Stroud will offer more good than bad, provided the rest of the offense holds up and doesn’t force him to go into “hero-ball mode”. If the Oline can pass block as effectively as they have, and the running game gives enough, the offense with Stroud will be fine. All part of complementary offense and complementary team play.
In a weird way, I almost feel a little better seeing Stroud OCCASIONALLY make dumb rookie throws like we saw Sunday. I obviously don’t want to see him make dumb throws but the fact that he still has room to grow, despite his fast start, makes me kind of happy that he’s getting these dumb throws, figuring out what happened and making corrections so he doesn’t continue to make the dumb throws. Stroud’s not perfect, in fact, I’d wager he’s barely scratched the surface of what he’s capable of, and if he’s going to make a stupid throw here or there, at least he’s getting them out of the way early.
I was personally at the game. The three interceptions got worse as they went. It also was more concerning with each passing interception. The third interception on an out route that looked like a fruit rollup out of his hand. Stroud was dynamic in the first half and the second half was inadequate. The Jacksonville game will be a telling if Stroud was a flash in the pan or a true testament of his character and will to be a great QB in the league.