The Pro Football Writers Association and Pro Football Weekly released this year’s All-AFC and All-NFL Team results.
In the All-AFC category the Texans had three players who received the honors: CB Johnathan Joseph, ILB Brian Cushing, and OT Duane Brown. Joseph was the only Texans player named to the All-NFL Team in this vote.
CB Johnathan Joseph was my early pick as a favorite off-season signing to the Texans squad. I saw his value as being higher than that of Nnamdi Asomugha and evidently he lived up to those expectations. Joseph finished the 2011 season with four interceptions, 18 passes deflected, one forced fumble and 42 tackles. Additionally, he was named to the 2011 Pro-Bowl and Associated Press All-NFL 2nd team.
His contributions to the Texans squad cannot be measured simply through statistics but must also be viewed from the impact he has made as a leader and mentor for the team.
ILB Brian Cushing has become both a physical and vocal leader for the rejuvenated Texans defense. His high-caliber and constantly-driven mentality has not only earned him the honor from Pro Football Weekly but, like Joseph, he was also named to the 2011 Associated Press All-NFL 2nd team. Cushing had a great season after rebounding from his disappointing season last year accumulating four sacks, two interceptions, six passes deflected, two forced fumbles and 81 tackles.
Cushing’s ruthless helmet-less headbutt on Cleveland Browns OL Shawn Lauvao earned him notoriety not only as an aggressive player but also as a fearless defensive leader for the Texans.
Out of all of the team’s that had more than 2,000 yards rushing this season only four of those teams allowed less than 35 sacks on their quarterback. Of those four teams only two of them protected their quarterback(s) well enough for them to have a completion rating over 92%. Those two teams were the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans.
OT Duane Brown was a huge contributor to the success of the Houston Texans offensive-line. “How much did he contribute?”, you ask – well let us just say that Brown allowed zero sacks on the quarterback. Absolutely zero, less than one, zilch, nada…and still he was looked over when it came time for the Pro Bowl. Well Pro Football Weekly got this one right. Brown’s success this season helped make the Texans one of the best offensive-lines in the league, a reputation that they have held for a few seasons now.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, C Chris Myers was named as a player who should have made the Pro Bowl and Pro Football Weekly lists. Protecting and guiding a rookie quarterback for nearly a quarter of the season, including in the team’s first ever playoff appearance, is a tall task. Myers has been the eyes-and-ears of the Texans O-line for the past four years. His presence on the line can be seen every time a gaping hole opens up for Arian Foster or when the quarterback seems to have an eternity to throw the ball.
Overall, I believe that Pro Football Weekly did the Texans right. These three players were top-notch contributors to the Texans success this season and will continue to drive the Texans towards the Super Bowl in years upcoming.