Tom Brady Praises C.J. Stroud’s Humble Approach Despite Early Success

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud gained countless fans after his exceptional rookie season. One of those who enjoyed his in-game demeanor and excellence is the greatest ever to do it: seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

In the episode of ‘The Pivot Podcast’ that premiered May 15, Ryan Clark asked Brady, “Who are some of the guys you actually enjoy watching play because of how they approach the game?”

“I mean, C.J. (Stroud) is a good example. Like, I really appreciate where he came from and all the expectations that he had and what he’s gone and put together last year with a lot of humility,” the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player said.

Brady expounded on Stroud’s down-to-earth demeanor by explaining what he looks for in quarterbacks. “When I watch quarterbacks, the first thing I watch is does he endear himself to his teammates. What are the things that he’s saying? What are the things that he’s doing to endear himself to his teammates so that he does feel like one of the guys.”

Despite his youth, Stroud’s ability to connect with his teammates was instrumental in the team’s impressive turnaround. Once a 3-win team, the Texans finished the season with a 10-7 record and a playoff win.

Pro Football Reference states that in addition to winning 9 of the 15 games he started, the former Ohio State standout led the league in yards per game (273.9), interception percentage for pass attempts (1%), and interception percentage index (130).

DeMeco Ryans Doubled Down on Brady’s Observation on C.J. Stroud

GettyC.J. Stroud is helped up by head coach DeMeco Ryans during their November 2023 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

While Brady is a third-party observer, Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans elaborated on what the five-time Super Bowl MVP lauded about Stroud.

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During the May 16 episode of ‘The Rich Eisen Show,’ Ryans shared, “The accuracy, the arm strength, the vision, he has all of those things. But it’s the intangible that set him apart. And the connectedness in the locker room, how he gets the guys around him in the locker room to just believe in him.”

The chemistry that Stroud helped establish elevated the skill position players around him. Devin Singletary had a career-high in rushing yards (898), while Nico Collins became a legitimate WR1 after finishing with 80 receptions, 1,297 yards, and 8 touchdowns.

Tank Dell averaged 64.5 receiving yards per game and 15.1 yards per catch. Finally, Dalton Schultz’s solid output (635 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns) earned him a three-year, $36 million contract extension.

But Stroud’s camaraderie isn’t limited to offensive players only. “He’s not off to himself just because he’s the quarterback. He does a really good job of connecting with everyone on the team, not just offensive players. He does a good job connecting with the defensive guys, and all those guys are joking; they’re having fun,” Ryans added.

Because the most important player on the team sees them, everyone has the motivation to perform well for their leader. “They wanted to do their job better because they knew C.J. is gonna do his deal, so you don’t wanna let a guy as capable as he is. You don’t want to let him down as a teammate,” the former Texans linebacker said.

C.J. Stroud Remains a Student of the Game

GettyQuarterback C.J. Stroud leads the huddle during the 2023 Texans rookie minicamp.

Despite his initial success, Stroud never lost his penchant for learning. He picked Brady’s mind when he appeared on the Nov. 2023 episode of the ‘Let’s Go! Podcast.’

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“I would just ask: When you started playing well, what was the process of your mentality? Like, how did you stay on the straight and narrow?”

Brady responded, “I think the important thing that I want you to realize, this is now your job. When they come to the game, it’s a vacation; it’s fun for them. The process of winning is fun. The memories you’re gonna have from having a great season are fun. The practice, the camaraderie’s fun. Trying to create fun for everybody else outside of that isn’t your responsibility.”

While 2023 was fun for Stroud and the Texans, the team faces a different challenge this season. Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson wrote on May 16 that Houston has the third-toughest schedule in 2024.

With more challenging opponents lined up, it’s up to Stroud to prove that his rookie season was no fluke.

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