The Houston Texans are inching closer to beginning their 2015 season where they will look to improve upon a 9-7 record from last year. Head coach Bill O’Brien enters his second season at the helm for Houston and has been at work reshaping the roster.
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With training camp just around the corner we here at the Toro Times have tried to break down as many of the key players as possible, while giving an outlook on what to expect from these players in 2015.
Today we look at one of the veterans on the team that coach O’Brien has kept during the team’s makeover this offseason, middle linebacker Brian Cushing.
A look back
Cushing posted 178 tackles, eight and a half sacks and one interception during his career at USC. The stats were good, but not as impressive as his teammates, but Cushing found himself landing higher in the draft due to his great athleticism and strength.
The Texans were not disappointed in their selection as Cushing wound up winning the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year award after posting 133 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions his rookie year. He also deflected ten passes and had a safety that season.
Unfortunately for the linebacker he has missed 26 games due to injury since that year, which seems to be the one thing that can slow him down.
The good news is after playing only five games in 2012 and seven in 2013, he was able to suit up for 14 games this past year and showed signs of being the same playmaker that Houston selected six years ago.
72 tackles and one sack were not the same results the team was used to getting from the former Trojan, but it was nice to see him flying all over the field and making it through more games than he had posted the previous two years combined.
What to expect
Cushing has had some “freakish injuries” but I would not call him injury prone. Instead I would say he hit a couple streaks of terrible luck. I believe the fact he played all but two games this past campaign shows he is getting back to the health he once enjoyed.
At 28 years old, Cushing is still in the prime of his career and now having a potential stud like Bernardrick McKinney lining up next to him, I expect to see the former Rookie of the Year freed up some and flying around the field even more.
This season should be a resurgence for Cushing as the texans continue to work towards becoming one of the most feared defensive units in the NFL.
Toro Times bold prediction for Brian Cushing
95 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles