C.J. Stroud figures to be throwing passes for years to come for the Houston Texans, which means he’ll be seeing plenty of the Indianapolis Colts — who have had plenty to say about the quarterback this offseason.

Earlier this offseason, Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin claimed that Stroud said some “wild stuff” to him in their matchups last season and that he needed to “see” him again. While saying that he “respected” Stroud, fellow Colts linebacker E.J. Speed also said he’s going to mess up Stroud “for the rest of his career.”

Stroud has some questions about those comments, but appears to be embracing the smack talk.

“A lot of dudes come on these podcasts, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to hit C.J. in his face, I’m going to get him next year.’ Where I’m from, we say, ‘Why didn’t you do something when you were mad?’ You were mad right there: Do something,” Stroud said on the latest edition of the “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast. “You could have made hella plays, bro. You could have made plays, dog. You could have shut me up right there, but you didn’t. So what makes you think you’re gonna do it now? And if you do, I’m gonna come back, bro. 

“For real, this ain’t for no play, bro. Come on … I’m excited. We play them at their place. It’s going to be rocking. Indy hates me already, and I love it.”

Stroud threw for 384 yards and two touchdowns, while posting a 103.5 passer rating and completing 63.8 percent of his passes in Houston’s Week 2 matchup against Indianapolis last season, which was a loss. 

Then, in Week 18, Stroud threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns, while posting a 134.1 passer rating and completing 76.9 percent of his passes in a 23-19 win for the Texans, which proved to be enough for them to win the AFC South title.

Across 15 regular-season games, Stroud totaled 4,108 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, five interceptions and a 100.8 passer rating, while completing 63.9 percent of his passes. He also ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Stroud was the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award winner, later helping the Texans reach the AFC divisional round.

Is C.J. Stroud already a Top 5 QB in the NFL?

The AFC South is a division of young signal-callers, including three second-year players (Stroud is one of them); the Colts have Anthony Richardson, who flaunted high-end upside before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury four games into last season; the Tennessee Titans have Will Levis, who started nine games last season. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars have former No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence under center, with the team a year removed from making the AFC divisional round.

Stroud has a deep arsenal of pass-catchers to get the ball to, including wide receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell and tight end Dalton Schultz. Furthermore, the Texans acquired wide receiver and four-time Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

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