Colts’ Defensive Star Sends Major Warning To Texans’ C.J. Stroud

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts
NFL Analysis Network

Just about everyone has been thoroughly impressed with Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. Well, everyone except Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin, apparently.

During a recent appearance on The Green Light With Chris Long podcast, Franklin fired a major warning shot at Stroud heading into 2024.

“It really be Houston,” Franklin said when asked who the Colts’ main foe in the AFC South is. “I’m not going to lie to you, I like C.J., man, I support all our young brothers at quarterback, but C.J., he done said a lot of wild stuff to me in our run-ins. … He is feeling himself. … I need to see that boy again.”

Franklin has particularly taken issue with how Stroud thinks he performed against Indianapolis in 2023.

“Well, we were talking, and you know how the Super Bowl is at Radio Row, he had the XM Radio right before me and he was on there talking about how he cooked the Colts in both games,” Franklin said. “I saw him and I pulled him aside and was like you know when you played Anthony (Richardson) it was like 28-7 in the second quarter, we were kind of blowing you out. …Yeah you threw for 300 yards but …”

Franklin was referring to the Colts’ Week 2 meeting with Stroud and the Texans, which resulted in a 31-20 victory for Indianapolis on Houston’s home turf.

Richardson exited that game with a concussion after going 6-for-10 with 56 yards and a couple of rushing touchdowns. Gardner Minshew then stepped in and went 19-for-23 with 171 yards and a score.

Meanwhile, Stroud went 30-for-47 with 384 yards and two touchdowns.

“I was like if that’s what you consider a cooking with the loss, I mean congratulations,” Franklin said. “Then I have to remind him as well that he’s never beaten Anthony.”

The Texans later won the season finale against the Colts, which also happened to be for the AFC South division title. It was a 23-19 victory for Houston, and Stroud completed 20 of his 26 passes for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Franklin dismissed the improved Tennessee Titans as a threat, and not much was mentioned about the Jacksonville Jaguars, who won the division in 2022.

Clearly, Franklin’s problem is with C.J. Stroud and the Texans, who have become the odds-on favorites to capture the AFC South crown for a second straight year in 2024.

Franklin racked up 179 tackles this past season.

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