The Houston Texans have been a team on the rise the last few seasons in the NFL. Many analysts were actually predicting that the Texans would not only win the AFC South division but also represent the conference in the Super Bowl. With a 12-4 record for the 2012 season and consecutive playoff appearances, the Texans appear to be the real deal and a team to be reckoned with among the elites around the league. However, the team’s playoff and Super Bowl aspirations took a blow when their All-Pro, former 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Brian Cushing, was lost for the season five games in due to a torn ACL.
Going into the 2013 campaign, Cushing, as well as the Texans organization, hopes for a return to Pro Bowl form in time for the team’s season opener on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. Having had several months of rehab time, going into training camp Cushing is likely chomping at the bit to get into pads and hit somebody. Injured or not, Cushing is still considered the best linebacker on the Texans roster. With him out of the lineup for the majority of the 2012 season, the Wade Phillips coached 3-4 defense wasn’t nearly as versatile, which over the course of the season added more pressure to the Texans’ other defensive standouts such as cornerback Johnathan Joseph and swat master J.J. Watt.
Injury or not, Cushing has a lot riding on the upcoming season as he’s entering the last year of his rookie contract. His play on the field will not only help in determining how far the Texans can potentially go in the playoffs, but also the type of contract the organization is willing to offer him for past and future production.