Texans’ Practice Approach With C.J. Stroud Differs From How Panthers Are Managing Bryce Young

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It’s May. Repeat that to yourself as you read this story because many NFL stories this month have an expiration date of late July when training camps open.

Having said that, the Houston Texans are moving ahead with their OTAs. And rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, the club’s first selection in the April draft and No. 2 overall, was working with the second-team offense on Tuesday.

Veteran quarterback Davis Mills was taking the first-team snaps in team and 7-on-7 drills.

This is notable only because it shows the different way the Texans are handling Stroud to the way the Carolina Panthers are handling Bryce Young.

Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. (Getty Images)

Young, the draft’s first overall selection one spot ahead of Stroud, is already working with the first-team offense in Carolina.

Bryce Young Already Working With Starters

And Carolina coach Frank Reich is on record as saying Young hit a proverbial home run getting that first-team work earlier this week.

Now, remember, it’s only May. But it is notable both teams in similar situations are approaching the same situation so differently.

The Texans and Panthers both have new coaching staffs. That includes new offensive coordinators and new offensive systems. But they disagree on how quickly their rookie quarterbacks should be baptized with the starters.

Young is expected to split snaps with veteran Andy Dalton.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 13: Davis Mills #10 of the Houston Texans warms up against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Davis Mills Running First Team In Houston

The Texans have Mills, a third-year veteran, as their incumbent quarterback. But even though Mills is not nearly as accomplished as Dalton, the Texans seemingly believe he’s better equipped to run the first-team ahead of Stroud.

And Mills is convinced he has a chance to win the job.

“I’m still competing for that starting job,” Mills told reporters.

Stroud and Young are both in a competition within their teams. Both have to earn their jobs in a competition. But Stroud starts that competition seemingly chasing Mills. Young starts it from a virtual tie with Dalton.

Ryans, meanwhile, doesn’t seem too concerned with the daily snapshot of his quarterback competition. Not in May, anyway.

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Texans new head coach DeMeco Ryans is not entitling rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud by handing him the starting job.

DeMeco Ryans Thinks About Starters In The Fall

“The process with all our players is to come out and improve and get better each day,” Ryans said “When the Fall comes, that’s when we’ll talk about starters and who are the best 11 men to go out there an help us win games.”

This is not to suggest Stroud has disappointed Houston in any way.

“C.J.’s been the same from the pre-draft process and now, hard worker, very intelligent guy,” Ryans said. “He’s a true competitor. So he’s been the exact same guy. Nothing has changed. Excited to see him out on the field, working with his teammates. C.J. has been doing an excellent job these past couple of days.”

Stroud doesn’t have a say how the Texans handle his development. He apparently understands the process.

“They’ve taken it very methodical, wanting to get me to learning step by step,” Stroud said. “Just like they would teach anybody else. I feel like I try to do a lot of work on my own so that when I come back the next day, I have that put in the bank to be able to move on to the next install.”

Ohio State Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud has a mature outlook on handling criticism. (Credit: Getty Images)
C.J. Stroud has a mature outlook on handling criticism. (Credit: Getty Images)

C.J. Stroud Embraces The Challenge

Some scouts wondered privately if Stroud had to overcome some maturity issues his first year in the NFL. But his maturity was on full display Tuesday when he seemed to understand why he hasn’t been anointed as the starter.

“For me I’m just trying to get better,” Stroud said. “It’s not about being with the 1s or being with the 2s. It’s about getting better. This is what the spring is for, learning plays, getting the timing down, learning my receivers …

“Anybody I can learn from, that’s what I’ve been on. It’s not about 1s and 2s right now. It’s about getting better as a whole.”

Stroud and Young are individuals and the teams they’re on are best equipped to know each quarterback. But it’s clear the Texans have decided there will be no entitlement connected to Stroud and their quarterback decision.

And Stroud accepts that.

“This team has been very accepting of me, very honest and very transparent,” he said. “What I love about it, man, is nothing is being given to me. I have to earn everything. It’s been like that my whole career so it’s nothing new.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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