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Is Houston Texans C.J. Stroud ready to take the reins?

Rookie QB’s gonna rook.

NFL: Houston Texans Training Camp Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

While this year’s Houston Texans training camp QB battle is nowhere near as close as Watson v. Savage (/sarcasm), it’s not a lock that first round draft pick C.J. Stroud is going to start Week 1. There are some that believe Davis Mills could take a leap forward in a better offense, particularly with better offensive line play. If that happens, Stroud will need to get it together faster than the average rookie QB to land the top spot at the end of the preseason.

Thankfully, Stroud is making strides.

C.J. Stroud (via Coty Davis)

I don’t want anything given to me — I want to earn everything. We’re just focused on getting better. So. right now, it’s just trying to get better for when we play the preseason and then of course [when we] play Baltimore in Week 1.

So far, Stroud has said all the right things, made a lot of right moves and done what needs to be done to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he’s been given this year. And, the former Ohio State phenom is reaching for the brass ring on the daily.

Coty Davis

Stroud spent the first six days of training camp in a close battle for QB1 with Davis Mills. Both quarterbacks began camp splitting reps with the first team. And since the start of OTAs in May, there were moments Mills may have made some bids to remain as the Texans’ starting quarterback.

But Day 9 of training camp at the Houston Methodist Training Center was another hint that the Texans are leaning to Stroud. He had an impressive performance in front of fans, which included finding running back Dameon Pierce and tight end Mason Schreck in the end zone during red-zone drills.

When Stroud wasn’t throwing touchdown passes, he helped the offense move the chains during 11-on-11 play. For the third consecutive practice, Stroud’s production led to an efficient performance for the offense while he continued to get the ball out quicker.

Coach DeMeco Ryans has not named Stroud the Texans’ official starter four days before their first preseason game against the New England Patriots. But every snap Stroud has taken since Thursday’s practice has been with the first team — despite solid play from Mills.

While Stroud starting against the Baltimore Ravens on Week 1 isn’t set in stone, it does seem very likely he’s going to be under center for the first snap of the Houston Texans preseason at the New England Patriots this coming Thursday.

Sure it’s just an exhibition game, but odds are a lot of us are going to be eagerly anticipating Stroud’s on field premiere this week.