You could argue the final gasp of air came out of the Houston Texans’ sails when linebacker and defensive captain Brian Cushing suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. It was an unfortunate familiar sight for Houston as the low block delivered by Chiefs’ RB Jamaal Charles looked eerily similar to the incident that ended Cushing’s 2012 campaign while visiting the New York Jets in Week 5 on Monday Night Football.
The Texans were already weak at linebacker before losing Cushing to a torn LCL and broken leg. In an interesting move this week, Houston decided to cut veteran LB Tim Dobbins. The team had seemed unhappy during the offseason when Dobbins skipped OTAs to work on his house, and the linebacker has only worked his way into one defensive snap seven weeks through the season (the majority of his playing time has come on special teams), but it still seems a strange week to cut Dobbins.
Coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips must have their eyes set on a few free agents who can step in and immediately fill a need. The Texans also parted ways with rookie undrafted free agent LB Willie Jefferson, and with the team three players down amongst the linebacker corps, acquisitions are likely coming.
As Houston currently sits at 2-5 heading into the bye, it’s probable the Texans’ playoff chances are slim to none and the Cushing loss shouldn’t matter much.
But if the team doesn’t manage to address needs at linebacker by signing a couple players who can at least play the role of serviceable backup, opposing offenses will have a field day in the middle of the field against the Texans.