Cardinals: C.J. Stroud makes a good measuring stick for the returning Kyler Murray

With Kyler Murray returning, the Arizona Cardinals finally have a legitimate starting quarterback under center, but there must be a measuring stick in place.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Houston Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers v Houston Texans / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is coming off of a magnificent outing, playing like a seasoned veteran amidst a successful rookie season in what was a five touchdown performance. And in less than two weeks Stroud’s Texans will face Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in what should be a memorable outing between two talented quarterbacks. 

But Stroud, ironically, makes for a good measuring stick for the returning Kyler Murray. For one, just check out Stroud’s first eight games of his pro career: They saw some highs, but also some ultra-lows, despite him committing just four fumbles and throwing one pick compared to 14 touchdown passes and a 102.9 overall passer rating. 

Stroud should be the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year, taking the supposedly talentless Texans into at least respectable territory through eight games. But again, the success hasn’t been all-world for Stroud, who completed between 48 and 57 percent of his passes for three straight weeks, despite finishing that stretch between October 1st and the 15th  with a 2-1 record.

Stroud makes for a good measuring stick for Arizona Cardinals quarterback

Stroud also led his Texans to score 20 points or less on five different occasions, and twice, his yards-per-attempt dipped under 6.0, with his lowest coming in Week 1 at just 5.5 in a 25-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He also took 11 sacks for 93 yards in those first two games, and we also know the Cardinals banged up offensive line won’t offer Murray an incredible amount of pass protection. 

Finally, we all know how weak the Arizona Cardinals roster looks, even without the injuries piling up. Sure, they have some talent on offense at the skill positions when everyone is healthy. But overall, the two rosters are rather identical talent-wise, as just 10 weeks ago, everyone pegged the Cards and Texans as the two worst teams in football. 

While the quarterbacks possess two different playing styles, there are many similarities between Murray’s situation and Stroud’s situation. Less-than-ideal rosters, first-year head coaches, first season in new systems (though Stroud is in his rookie year), expectations that must be kept in check, and hordes of individual talent. 

There is also the fact that Stroud has struggled with adversity despite pulling out a narrow win between October 8th and October 29th when he led the Texans to just 52 points in that stretch. So if you are looking for the ideal quarterback to compare Kyler Murray’s presumed eight games to, it’s C.J. Stroud and his situation in Houston.


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)