Houston Texans: Brian Cushing Will Make All the Difference on Defense

Stephen KasperCorrespondent IApril 11, 2017

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The Houston Texans have the potential to win 11 games this season, win the division, and go deep into the playoffs.

At the same time, the also have the potential to completely bust after the loss suffered at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

All day Monday I heard about how the Houston Texans aren't for real and even though the Cowboys have struggled early this season, they are still not at the same level as their “big brother” team in Texas.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I can't help but think this Houston team is still the better team and will get closer to the Lombardy trophy than the Cowboys will when the season is over.

The biggest weakness for this Texan team is their secondary. And though he isn't a defensive back, Brian Cushing will bring an edge to this Texans defense that they desperately need.

The reigning defensive rookie of the year is serving a four-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance and will be back in Week 5 to take on the Giants at home.

Now, assuming the Texans beat the Oakland Raiders this week and move to a 3-1 record, things will be set up perfectly for Cushing.

Don't underestimate Cushing's value to this defense.

Brian Cushing will make as much of a difference for this defense as Big Ben will make for the Steelers offense when he comes back from his own suspension.

How much of a difference?

How about four sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, 86 tackles and a safety for good measure. That's the difference he made last season for this Houston defense.

Such an impressive difference in fact, even after he tested positive for the banned substance, the Associated Press had a recount for defensive rookie of the year and Cushing still won.

Granted he will have missed the first four games this season so he may not have the exact same numbers as last year, but it's his presence that matters.

Throw in his defensive teammates Super Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans, who has 25 total tackles after the first three games of the season, and the defense doesn't look too bad.

I know what you're thinking.

Brian Cushing still isn't a defensive back, and that's what they need the most.

Though this is true, he doesn't need to be. Putting pressure on the quarterback is often even more effective than playing back in coverage, and that's what Cushing will bring to the table for this Texan's defense.

And it won't always be in the form of blitzing. Brian Cushing is night hawk. He somehow manages to be every where and is part of every single play.

Whether he is blitzing, playing man, or playing back in zone coverage, quarterbacks always have to be watching out for Cushing to pounce.

As he proved last season as a rookie, he will not be just another player in a Texans uniform. He demands a certain amount of respect from opposing offenses because of his speed, strength, awareness, and overall athletic ability.

At only 23 Brian Cushing has made his presence known in the NFL.

Whether he purposely took the banned substance or not, the Houston Texans believe his innocence and will welcome him back with open arms because they know how much better he makes this defense.

Unfortunately for every other team the Texans will play this season, they know how much better he makes their defense as well.