DECEMBER 24: Although the Texans will officially be without their starting quarterback for a second straight week, he has a decent chance to come back on New Year’s Eve. Stroud’s symptoms are subsiding, per Wilson, who adds he has a decent chance of resuming some football activities this week. The Ohio State product has indeed shown progress while in concussion protocol, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicates there is optimism about a return for the team’s Week 17 game against the Titans.
DECEMBER 20: The Texans made an unexpected switch for Week 15, moving to Case Keenum rather than Davis Mills. That depth chart adjustment is likely to be relevant once again for the surprise playoff contender.
C.J. Stroud is not expected to return in Week 16, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. The Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite is still experiencing symptoms from the concussion he suffered against the Jets, with Wilson adding sensitivity to light remains an issue for the No. 2 overall pick.
Stroud will not be cleared for practice Wednesday. The Texans added recent Jets starter Tim Boyle to their practice squad Tuesday. Boyle, who started two games for the Jets before being waived a day after the latter start, now sits behind Keenum and Mills among healthy Houston quarterbacks.
While Stroud’s season is likely to continue, it is obviously a concern he is on track to remain in concussion protocol for a second game. That said, Stroud’s health is obviously paramount here. The Texans toiled in anonymity during the two-year period between Deshaun Watson‘s QB1 run and Stroud’s arrival. They are in this surprising 8-6 spot largely because of the pick they made in April. The Texans have a 51.5% chance to make the playoffs, per ESPN’s FPI. They face the Browns, who carried Keenum as their backup from 2020-21, on Sunday.
Keenum, 35, piloted Houston to an overtime win over Tennessee. The journeyman QB agreed to return to Houston in March, and the Texans rebuffed trade inquiries on he and Mills this year. The team viewed Keenum as a quality Stroud mentor, though Mills was believed to be in place as the backup prior to Week 15. Attached to a two-year, $6.25MM deal, the former Texans UDFA now has 65 career starts under his belt.