Houston Texans: Decline of Brian Cushing Warrants Change


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“First of all you’re not going to block me, second you don’t want to fight me and third, I’m the man!”  These were words boastfully barked by Houston Texans oft injured middle linebacker Brian Cushing on the hit HBO series Hard Knocks. Man, the moment I saw that scene I was so pumped. My initial thought was “Cush is back” and oh man he is about to be an absolute monster all over the field. Things have been slightly different since the “practice bully” image created for the show.

Brian Cushing is that guy that at one point reminded people of a character in the WWE. Arms like the late great Ultimate Warrior, and tons of post big play antics made for TV. At full strength, he was one of the most feared inside linebackers in the game for a short stretch. He was so fast, so instinctive, and so nasty in pursuit to his many violent collisions. But, one Matt Slauson chop block and another low hit from Kansas City Chiefs’ star Jamaal Charles later and Houston is left with a slower and less imposing shell of Cushing.

Last season, one of the saddest moments in Houston football viewing history was during a huge match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Rothelisberger dumped off a pass to his ace Le’Veon Bell, who then met Cushing in the open field. After a quick juke and change of direction, Bell began to pull away from him like an Olympic sprinter running from a toddler. It was sad, that moment every owner of a No. 56 jersey died a little on the inside during that tear-jerking scene.

Today, the same guy that called out non-combative running back Alfred Blue is struggling to back up all his tough talk. He is a key $52 million piece to a defense that was projected to have the ability to literally stop a tidal wave. Right now this defense looks like an intersection with the green lights permanently on, because they stop no one ever.

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If Cushing was to be released there would be a cap hit of around $9,5 million. He could be traded, but honestly what would the return be, a box of Frosted Flakes and a half empty gallon of milk? The Texans are hurting in the depth area so multiple picks could be the perfect reward for a falling star.

With nine 9 games remaining on the schedule and the possibility of going 2-7 during that stretch, I believe it’s time the front office makes some intelligent moves for the 2016 season and future.

Cushing is the first contract I would try and eliminate. He did great things for this team in the past, but there comes a time when a franchise has to simply move on. Coming off of an impressive 9-7 record last year, the Texans looked to be headed in the right direction, but the many flaws on this roster have finally caught up with them as they currently sit at 2-5 through seven weeks.

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Houston has a history of marrying into terrible contracts and creating monetary issues to properly construct a contending team. If Rick Smith and Bob McNair want to something right for the first time in a long time, getting rid of declined players with hefty contracts would be an amazing start.