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Texans HC DeMeco Ryans not yet ready to declare starting QB between Davis Mills, C.J. Stroud

Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans isn't yet ready to declare who's in position for the starting quarterback job in the early throes of training camp. 

Returning starter Davis Mills and rookie C.J. Stroud figure to be the main competitors of Houston's QB battle this summer with veteran Case Keenum also on the roster. Ryans told reporters Thursday that it will be a QB rotation until further notice.

"We'll see," Ryans said. "When the time comes for us to declare someone as a starter we'll do that, when it's the right time for us."

Ryans remained coy when it came to who will start in the Texans' first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Aug. 10, but the rookie head coach did offer a precedent on what it will take to determine who will lead his team in Week 1.

"When that time comes it's going to be the best guy that I feel like is going to lead our team in a proper way, and that ultimately gives us the best opportunity to be as successful as we can be," he said.

Mills enters Year 3 having started 26 games for Houston the past two seasons, compiling a 33:25 touchdown-to-interception ratio while generating a 5-19-1 record. The former third-round pick is set to digest his third offense in 2023, but experience alone may give him a leg up in the early stages of training camp.

Stroud was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and is hoped to be Houston's next franchise quarterback. The 21-year-old produced 8,123 yards and 85 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions in two seasons as a starter at Ohio State, and his distinct awareness in the pocket along with a lively arm make him an intriguing prospect.

Ryans has maintained all along that he won’t just hand over the Texans’ starting QB job to the highly anticipated rookie. That remains the case along the first week of camp, and it's a QB battle that's poised to play out publicly throughout the preseason. It will make for an interesting storyline given the Texans' rock-solid offensive line and young playmakers looking to make their mark on offense.

But even with a major impending decision that will need to take place before the Texans go on the road to face the Ravens in the 2023 season opener, Ryans is taking his responsibilities in stride.

"In Baltimore, I promise you we will have a quarterback out there," Ryans said with a smile.

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