Houston Texans: What Brian Cushing must change to remain on the team

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Brian Cushing
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Brian Cushing /

If Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing returns next season, the coaching staff has found a way to keep the intensity and leadership that he brings on the field by transitioning him to the outside linebacker position.  What?  Let me tell why and how this will work.

Houston Texans fans — it’s obvious that former Defensive Rookie of the Year in Brian Cushing seems long gone, but No. 56 could still prove to be a pivotal part in this team’s success next year on defense despite his recent 10-game PED suspension during this past season.

Sadly for the former first-rounder, he has had more than his fair share of leg injuries through his nine-year career that have obviously altered his play style.

To put things in perspective, Cushing has had to deal with a torn ACL in 2012, a broken fibula, a torn LCL in 2013; and lastly, a partially torn MCL in 2016.

As a result, Houston’s all-time leading tackler has found himself struggling with trying to keep up with some of the quicker running backs down the sideline as well as quarterbacks simply throwing over the top of him.

Maybe a full-time position change could be exactly what this once-intimidating tackling machine needs to revamp the remainder of his career.  With the team missing the playoffs and his strong knowledge of the defense, Cushing has time to fully adapt to the outside linebacker position.

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Having both of Houston’s top linebackers in Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham — to which the latter had a combined total of 90 tackles during his rookie campaign — will allow Cushing to easily make the switch for the upcoming season.

The Houston Texans have the opportunity to utilize Cushing’s pass-rushing abilities while also being able to take advantage of his experienced run-stopping without having to force him to dance from sideline to sideline.

Plus, with the return of a healthy J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, rotating Cush on the outside long-term would be one less puzzle piece this former top-ranked defense will have to worry about.

Just imagine an offensive line trying to consistently block a healthy lineup of Watt, Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, AND Cushing. The aforementioned notion would certainly give the impression as if it would be a difficult task for any opposing offensive linemen.

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Will this actually happen?  If Cushing wants to prolong his career, it should be a no-brainer.  This is a vision of mine but one thing’s for sure, Cushing needs to still be in a Texans uniform next season.  I’ve told you why, let’s make it happen.