Colts’ Zaire Franklin fires stern warning to Texans’ CJ Stroud

Zaire Franklin is one of the key players on the Indianapolis Colts’ defense and with the emergence of CJ Stroud and the Houston Texans in 2023, he did not hold back when talking about how much he is looking forward to facing them next season, while downplaying facing the Tennessee Titans.

Zaire Franklin shines bright with third-highest single-game tackle performance in Colts history - Stampede Blue

“No, because I already smacked them (Titans) a couple times,” Zaire Franklin said on the Green Light with Chris Long Podcast. “It really be Houston. I’m not going to lie to you, like CJ, man, I support all our young brothers at quarterback, but CJ, 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.”

The Colts swept the Titans during the 2023 season, so it makes some sense that Franklin is looking forward to playing the Texans more, as those two teams split the season series. The Titans surely could use Franklin’s words as motivation for next season in the two matchups.

Franklin brought up being at Radio Row at the Super Bowl overhearing Stroud talk about how well he played against the Colts. Franklin then described what he said to him there.

“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 on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast. “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…”

The Colts did come out on top that day, although Anthony Richardson did get injured early on.

Colts vs Texans matchups in 2023 and looking forward

NFL Week 1: Colts vs Texans live scores, highlights, updates

On that day, the Colts came out with the win over the Texans in Week 2 by the score of 31-20. At the time, the Colts moved to 1-1 and the Texans dropped to 0-2. Despite the loss, Stroud expressed confidence in his team, even though many believed they were on track for a bad season. That confidence was justified, as the Texans went on to win the AFC South and go to the divisional round.

The Colts eventually lost Anthony Richardson for the season, but had an opportunity to win the AFC South with a win at home against the Texans late in the season. Stroud and the Texans came out on top with a 23-19 win and clinched the spot instead.

The Texans are confident that they have their franchise quarterback after Stroud’s rookie season. The Colts believe Richardson can be one if he stays on the field.

Texans QB C.J. Stroud (concussion) participates at practice | Reuters

In an ideal world for both of these teams, Stroud and Richardson will be dueling for the AFC South for the foreseeable future. Franklin certainly believes the Colts will have the upper hand if Richardson is able to stay on the field.

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

It will be interesting to see when these two teams will match up again when the NFL schedule is released.

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