Falcons’ Arthur Smith heaps praise on C.J. Stroud

NFL: OCT 01 Steelers at Texans

The Falcons have faced a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks, coming out with two wins. They’ve also drawn a pair of experienced signal callers, dropping both. If trends continue, the Falcons should be able to contain C.J. Stroud.

The Texans rookie is a bit different than Bryce Young and Jordan Love, though. He might be the biggest surprise of the 2023 campaign. He’s thrown for more than 1,200 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in four contests. Nobody expected him to outperform the 1st overall pick immediately.

Stroud shouldn’t have been knocked for whatever reason throughout the draft, but he’s proving the doubters wrong. Arthur Smith has a lot of respect for the youngster.

“C.J. (Stroud), he’s got a special characteristic… (has a) really bright future.”

The Falcons have been able to stay in games for the most part this year thanks to their much improved defense. It’s a group that ranks in the top 10 in scoring, total yards, third-down conversion rate, and pressure rate.

They’re stout up front and tough on the back end. Despite Troy Andersen’s injury, Nate Landman has transitioned to a full time role seamlessly. There might not be a better interior duo in football right now than David Onyemata and Grady Jarrett, while Jessie Bates is playing like the best safety in football.

Outside of a couple of busted coverages against the Jaguars and Lions, nothing has come easy on Ryan Nielsen’s group. For the first time in a long time, the Falcons defense is the strength of this team.

C.J. Stroud has been unbelievable, but he’s running into a buzzsaw this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if Week 5 is the first time he struggles in the NFL.

Photographer: Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sports
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