Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has quickly become one of the league’s premier and most feared linebackers in the game today. Since being drafted 15th overall out of USC in the 2009 NFL Draft, Cushing has been named 2009 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, PFWA Defensive rookie of the year and nabbed a Pro Bowl appearance in 2009. In just three years with Houston, Cushing has racked up an impressive 242 tackles, 9.5 sacks, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles and has been named second-team all pro in 2009 and 2011.
Cushing has emerged into a captain on this young, impressive defense and into a nightmare for any quarterback opposing him. The Texans defense just seems to play better with him on the field calling the shots. The opposing completion percentage when Cushing is on the field is a mere 58.4 percent as compared to 65.2 percent without him, and yards per play are a significant difference as well with 5.2 yds average with Cushing and 5.8 without him.
Brian Cushing’s loud, in your face style of play along with his fearlessness–just ask Cleveland Browns offensive guard Shawn Lauvao–brings the motivation and enthusiasm needed for a striving, young defense. Houston is a team on the rise right now and the defense is a major part of that rise to the top. With the intense, emotional play of Cushing, the phenomenal play of J.J. Watt and a secondary that will intercept anything thrown their way, this team could definitely see a Super Bowl appearance very soon.