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Brian Cushing’s play since return comes under criticism

Thumbnail image for B. Cushing2.jpgI was all set to do a post about the increasing criticism and pressure Texans coach Gary Kubiak is facing in Houston.  That post will come later, but first let’s take a not-so quick detour to the land of Brian Cushing.

In this well-thought-out takedown of Kubiak’s decision-making, Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chroncile‘s Z Report blog says that Cushing looks “VERY average after his suspension for banned substances.”

Cushing missed four games for violating the league’s PED policy and he’s now playing middle linebacker, a new position for him.  I’m inclined to give Cushing a break, but I know Zierlein is an NFL coach’s son that does the homework to watch every snap, so his criticism is worth considering.

He questions the decision-making process that went into drafting Cushing in the first place when there was a lot of smoke out there.

“He better jump back into Beast Mode or Mr. McNair is going to wonder if he was duped by the old bait-and-switch,” Zierlein writes.

Cushing wasn’t the focus of the article, but that section caught the attention of Cushing’s father Frank, who wrote a passionate response defending his son’s behavior and left his number for Zierlein to call. (He checked it out and the number is legit.) 

The response starts:  “Do you still believe in BP, Enron, Wall Street, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and all the corporations that feed the American public like the NFL? Do you know the NFL’s testing procedures?”

Frank Cushing goes on to say his son passed lied detector tests and is a “clean cut kid.”  The whole response is worth a read, although it somewhat misses the point.

Zierlein’s point wasn’t about Cushing’s integrity, as much as his play this season. Whether the Cushings like it or not, the best way for the Texans linebacker to rehabilitate his image is to play like he did in 2009.

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62 Responses to “Brian Cushing’s play since return comes under criticism”
  1. doe22us says: Nov 9, 2010 12:56 PM

    the roids men when u are off it .. you become useless see Lights Out

  2. Jeff0621 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:03 PM

    The fact that he is playing out of position to help his team is the issue here, not his “play”

  3. MrHumble says: Nov 9, 2010 1:05 PM

    Hey the dude has been off ‘roids for a few months, what did you expect!!! Funny how those ‘roids can make a person into a superman, just ask clay matthews.

  4. Bro Skins Fan says: Nov 9, 2010 1:05 PM

    Is it too early for the Shawne Merriman comparison?

  5. bunker says: Nov 9, 2010 1:07 PM

    Brian Cushing = Lattimer from “The Program”
    LMAO

  6. Monarch says: Nov 9, 2010 1:08 PM

    Im a huge Texans fan, and trust me we’re all seeing this too, he’s different

  7. coryjordan says: Nov 9, 2010 1:08 PM

    I would love to see an athlete admit guilt for once……you were caught red handed, now the proof is in the pudding.

  8. LunarPie says: Nov 9, 2010 1:10 PM

    Does this seem a little similar to Shawne Merriman’s latest demise? Both of these guys have steroids written all over them…

  9. FloridaMike says: Nov 9, 2010 1:10 PM

    This is the first time I’ve even heard his name since his return from suspension.

  10. TXYoungGuns82 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:16 PM

    I can’t think of anything that would cause the decline in Cushing’s play….
    I mean what was he doing before that he isn’t doing now? Does anyone have any idea what it might be?

  11. Kirmie says: Nov 9, 2010 1:18 PM

    “Frank Cushing goes on to say his son passed lied detector tests.”
    What? There is a detector that can detect if you lied about something in the past? Amazing!

  12. myeaglescantwin says: Nov 9, 2010 1:19 PM

    Pop-eye was nothing but a chump without his spinach…
    It like, people wonder why X-Juicers are no good after they get caught.. Cause they dont belong in the NFL, the only reason they are there is because of the juicey-juice// after they come back, they either are terrible or get injured cause they normal bodies can’t handle battling the players that DESERVE TO BE IN THE LEAGUE.
    I mean look a Sean Fairyman,, he keeps getting hurt cause he off the juice, his body is crashing.
    These guys have been on the junk most likely since HighSchool & now when they jump off it,, they realize they arent who they were pretending to be.
    ANYONE caught using these types of performance enhancers or agents that mask performance enhancers should be booted from the league, PUBLICLY & PROMPTLY. .. we gotta let kids no that this is not the way to go, & this cheating b.s. will not be tolerated..
    SO what they get a 4 game suspension, they already rode the steroid train right to the bank.
    kickem out for good.

  13. Tom says: Nov 9, 2010 1:22 PM

    It makes little difference whether or not the player knew what he had taken but most after being reinstated don’t play as well as before.

  14. ADogDC says: Nov 9, 2010 1:29 PM

    Ah….Did you fail to realize that Cushing isn’t even playing his position???
    Go figure. How can you compare 16 games of Weakside LBs stats to 3 games worth of MLB stats?

  15. lanjoith says: Nov 9, 2010 1:30 PM

    Cushing’s play actually helps Shawne Merriman’s case that he didn’t juice. Merriman tested positive in a routine test in mini camp BEFORE the 2006 season started. He went on to get 17 sacks while missing 4 games (suspended) and then got 12.5 in 2007 which was his overall most complete season as a pro. He went against Doctors advice and didn’t have surgery for a knee injury and it cost him all but one game in ’08 and he still hadn’t fully recovered in ’09 and hasn’t been the same player since. It was a legit football injury, not a lack of steroid induced decline. He had two great years after testing positive for whatever it was. But don’t let the truth get in the way of what you want you want to believe.

  16. BaltimoreBrowns says: Nov 9, 2010 1:31 PM

    If he doesn’t cut it as a linebacker he would make a great male cheer leader for the Baltimore Ravens.

  17. nflhof says: Nov 9, 2010 1:32 PM

    Now all Cushing needs is for Jeff Fisher to send a couple of his Titan goons and take out his knees and the story will be complete. Jeff Fisher is a dirty cheat who protects his draft pick busts with cheap play.

  18. leather_face_jones says: Nov 9, 2010 1:34 PM

    One problem here: he tested positive very early in the season last year, was notified of it and subjected to an increased number of subsequent tests. For anyone with a clue, the guy didn’t begin to play well until around week 6 (after notification of test failure). Why would his play decline over a year after the notification of the test results? Wouldn’t this have happened at this time LAST year? Or maybe it is a function of the guy missing 4 weeks of playing, then coming back very clearly rusty, then switching to a position he has never played? Come on. Maybe he will become much worse because of the steroids, but at least give it some time. Typical PFT here.

  19. cmich06 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:36 PM

    Post ban Merriman still put up big numbers that season…the downfall started with injuries…if you want to say the injuries occurred because of coming off the juice you can, but to correlate the drop off in production is factually incorrect

  20. polakojones says: Nov 9, 2010 1:37 PM

    Thats cause he’s not ‘over-training’ anymore.

  21. TheDPR says: Nov 9, 2010 1:38 PM

    Where are the complaints about Jon Beason this year?
    Like Cushing, he’s been playing in a new and unfamiliar position and it really does make a difference.
    Why assume that with Beason it is the new position but with Cushing it’s roids? Are we all that cynical?

  22. HoustonTexans55 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:40 PM

    For one, with the Loss of Demeco Ryans, (ProBowl middle linebacker) that makes everyones job more difficult.
    Not to mention losing our most improved DE Connar Barwin wk. 1 and losing his 2 backup DE’s.
    Cushing is playing out of position.
    Most Importantly, without out DE’s we are getting NO pass rush forcing us to play a TON of Nickel. For those of you that know, the MLB doesn’t get a ton of tackles while playing in Nickle.
    This is not the same defense due to injuries, Cushing will be back!!!

  23. jojomellon says: Nov 9, 2010 1:48 PM

    Failing a test will not make you stop juicing either. There are a million ways around tests. And besides, there is still not test for HGH. So for all we know, the entire league could be pumping themselves full of growth hormone. so its hard for me to criticize a play for failing a steroid test, as if hes the only one doing it. He’s simply the only one who got caught. Dont be naive, fans.

  24. HoustonTexans55 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:49 PM

    For one, with the Loss of Demeco Ryans, (ProBowl middle linebacker) that makes everyones job more difficult.
    Not to mention losing our most improved DE Connar Barwin wk. 1 and losing his 2 backup DE’s.
    Cushing is playing out of position.
    Most Importantly, without out DE’s we are getting NO pass rush forcing us to play a TON of Nickel. For those of you that know, the MLB doesn’t get a ton of tackles while playing in Nickle.
    This is not the same defense due to injuries, Cushing will be back!!!

  25. Brazy says: Nov 9, 2010 1:50 PM

    I just think he’s tired due to Over Training Syndrome.

  26. petro says: Nov 9, 2010 1:53 PM

    @ nflhof
    How did Jeff Fisher enter into the equation? How about your texans finally show up for a big game and show some spine and not blame other teams in your division?

  27. braczey29 says: Nov 9, 2010 1:54 PM

    Hey PFT. Luv u still baby but…take it easy on Kush…….I mean Cush. After all, he’s overtrained to begin with.
    DeMaco Ryans was one of the most underrated players at his position in the game. His cemented role as the leader afforded the play of Kushing last year by dominating that role and allowing Cush to react and play fast…..everywhere. DeMaco is out bro – for the year, Kush is calling the defense now and he’s way out of position. You can tell, the Texans are horrible against the pass and now their second level is compromised big time. Cush is fine, just tired maybe, you dont need PEDs at 23 even if you think they help make you nuts. My guess is that the guy was hurt trying to recover using some HgH, guy was never healthy at USC.

  28. CaptainFantastik says: Nov 9, 2010 1:54 PM

    Brian Cushing = Lattimer from “The Program”
    LMAO
    —————————
    Yep. “First team starting defense!!! Place at the table!!!”

  29. dalfan4ever says: Nov 9, 2010 1:56 PM

    This is what happens when all of the “juice” wears off, right Shawne Merriman?

  30. granadafan says: Nov 9, 2010 2:05 PM

    Give Cush a break. He’s weighed down with the heavy burden of wondering who the father of his baby is: Sanchez or Clay Matthews. Perhaps it’s even Rey “I own the LAPD” Maualuga’s.

  31. Browning's Nagle says: Nov 9, 2010 2:05 PM

    @ bunker
    That’s the 1st thing that came to my mind as well!

  32. nagurski_T_form says: Nov 9, 2010 2:11 PM

    Beast mode?
    Marshawn Lynch should have trademarked that one.

  33. slowfame says: Nov 9, 2010 2:12 PM

    I bet they wish they had drafted Clay Matthews instead.

  34. balzosteel says: Nov 9, 2010 2:12 PM

    Cue all the Packer hatin’, “Clay Matthews also does steroids” comments in 3-2-1……
    Minisrotum Viqueen fans crack me up, they really do…

  35. Hail2ThaRedskins says: Nov 9, 2010 2:16 PM

    There is absolutely no way you can compare Cushing’s on-field performance this season to any other previous season since he is playing in an entirely new possession.
    The only thing I will say is that the coaching staff must still see a lot in Cushing to expect him to learn a new position and take on a role that actually requires more physicality than his previous position.

  36. Arctic Edge says: Nov 9, 2010 2:23 PM

    Most players from USC use roids and get paid. There is a reason why many people call USC the University of Steroids and Cash.

  37. unruhly27 says: Nov 9, 2010 2:29 PM

    Ya Bunker all I can think about is Lattimer getting plowed over at the goal line. all the roid users remind me of the Lattimer character.

  38. lanjoith says: Nov 9, 2010 2:31 PM

    @ petro, The Titans cheap shot Merriman’s knee late in 2007 and that is what has led to his decline. That is what nflhof was referring to.

  39. packers4life says: Nov 9, 2010 2:33 PM

    “Funny how those ‘roids can make a person into a superman, just ask clay matthews.”
    I can see that your jealous that your lousy defense doesn’t even have anyone remotely close to how Matthews plays. Not even the overrated Jared Allen.
    and if I recall Kevin and Fatty Patty Williams took banned substances too and everyone knows they took it even if they did refuse to act like men and take their punishment.

  40. Joe says: Nov 9, 2010 2:58 PM

    He was on the Juice, now he sucks. I wonder why?

  41. CJ SPILLER says: Nov 9, 2010 3:05 PM

    No way Clay Matthews is clean………that guy is a beast……I’m not here to bash the Pack fans, I’m just saying Matthews is so much better than any other LB at the moment. The guy is unstoppable!! Maybe they all should play on roids, to me it should be their choice. Please tell me how you could think Matthews is clean? He was a “skinny” walk on at USC. No skinny walk on becomes the best LB in the NFL!! He entered USC at 161 lbs!! He also played under Pete Carroll which may tell you something!! Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga played on the same team. Cushing was also smaller when he entered USC, about 220 lbs, he now weighs about 260 lbs. I like Matthews, and I’m not a Packer hater, but how do you go from 161 lbs to 255 lbs? The answer is, you don’t without ALOT of help!!!

  42. Route36West says: Nov 9, 2010 3:21 PM

    Cushing is Merriman 2.0
    1 good season (2 for Merriman) then got caught using peds. They both served there suspensions and then both came back not even half as good as they were on steroids. They were both products of cheating and without it they are average at best.

  43. jojomellon says: Nov 9, 2010 3:28 PM

    CJ SPILLER
    You’re a dope. Tons of players mature in college. And again, most players are probably on stuff. Blaming a guy for using simply because he’s doing well is pretty messed up.

  44. Take says: Nov 9, 2010 3:29 PM

    I think he’s on Hemroids to be honest!! LMAO
    I crack myself up.

  45. XLI says: Nov 9, 2010 3:32 PM

    The AP needs to seriously reconsider why they awarded this Cheat.
    Giving a player on PEDs an award for his performance is like having Charlie Sheen give the keynote speech at an D.A.R.E. Convention.
    He Cheated, the AP Rewarded him for his “enhanced performance” unknowingly”, then they found out he cheated, revoted, and still gave him the Award?!?
    Gee AP thanks, now I’m rooting for your Newspapers to fail.

  46. zbon1234 says: Nov 9, 2010 3:34 PM

    Clay Matthews on steroids? Have you seen that guy play? Steroids or not he would be a monster, he has a non stop motor and continues to get better. There is a thing called technique in the NFL and if you watch him play he continues to get better and better. He is fantastic with his hands and he gets the lean going around the edge. Is it just possible that he matured late and has a desire to be good that isn’t matched by many? Think before you speak.

  47. poonhok says: Nov 9, 2010 3:53 PM

    Actually, there were enough WMD’s found in Iraq to kill a couple million people, not to mention the tons that were shipped to Syria…but don’t let ignorance get in the way of a bad rant…

  48. Subzero says: Nov 9, 2010 3:55 PM

    Umm…maybe you should look at Quarterbacks with 2 minutes left in a half…McNabb is not that far behind….all it takes is objective research
    And it’s funny because I’ve heard Philly fans criticize McNabb for not doing enough audibles

  49. Joe says: Nov 9, 2010 4:00 PM

    i put it on Mcnair, Kubiak and Rick Smith more than anyone. they have failed at assembling a winning team and mcnair locked into a mediocre coach with no ability to get his team motivated. they continue to throw Kareem Jackson out there simply because they picked him in the 1st round, he is over matched and without much help on the defensive side of the ball. we are supposed to be built to rush the passer and stop the run and we cant do either.

  50. bigfranky75 says: Nov 9, 2010 4:16 PM

    haha…. frigging evidence that Jairus Byrd got totally SCREWED.
    Byrd had a league leading 9 INTs in only 11 starts last year….. and he loses defensive rookie of the year to this druggie? what a JOKE this league can be at times.

  51. fatalist says: Nov 9, 2010 4:22 PM

    Actually, Matthews’ hair is on HGH.

  52. Shayne-O-Matic says: Nov 9, 2010 4:31 PM

    This guy is a joke and a fraud. Did you see the article written by his “trainer?” I’m betting he’s washing Bon Jovi’s car back in NJ in no time.

  53. StevieMo says: Nov 9, 2010 4:32 PM

    Once a steroid user, always a liar.

  54. the_chosen says: Nov 9, 2010 4:41 PM

    I guess he ran out of pills.

  55. AttackPack213 says: Nov 9, 2010 4:57 PM

    Someone get his dad a tissue. Does anyone care what the NFL’s testing procedures are? Nope. Your son used a banned substance and got caught. Now he isn’t using the substance and he plays middle linebacker like an old woman. Take from that what you want, but he’s awful. On second thought, don’t get his dad a tissue. He can dry his tears with one of the bennies his son sends him.

  56. Gregjennings85 says: Nov 9, 2010 5:09 PM

    It’s easy to see why Cushing started doping;
    Having to sit and watch Clay Matthews III’s genes take over and send him on a huge growth spurt would make any mortal man not priviledged to the Matthews’ gene pool utilize science to make him bigger.
    Matthews for NFL/NFC MVP (NFL/NFC DPOY, at the minimum).

  57. FearGunner says: Nov 9, 2010 5:15 PM

    Probably got his junk shrunk off the roidage. Now someone needs to test Clay Matthews.

  58. tooz56 says: Nov 9, 2010 5:17 PM

    Someone take the drugs away from Silva..he HAD to be stoned to make up that list !

  59. tedthompsonsucks says: Nov 9, 2010 6:54 PM

    I was a very late bloomer. Going into college I weighed about 175. I was on a strength program all throughout college. I came out about 200 lbs. Do guys mature? Sure. Do they go from 160 to 255? No. Stop it Packer fans. You know the guy is roided out of his mine. Nobody is claiming they’re aren’t Vikings that are probably juicing too but lets be realistic. Matthews is the poster boy for steroids and probably a lot of other things too.
    And hey Packer fans. Quit talking like you actually beat the Vikings. You didn’t. The refs beat us. Favre owned you again and the boys in stripes, and Chilly, took it away from us.

  60. MrHumble says: Nov 9, 2010 7:33 PM

    zbon1234 says:
    November 9, 2010 3:34 PM
    Clay Matthews on steroids? Have you seen that guy play? Steroids or not he would be a monster, he has a non stop motor and continues to get better. There is a thing called technique in the NFL and if you watch him play he continues to get better and better. He is fantastic with his hands and he gets the lean going around the edge. Is it just possible that he matured late and has a desire to be good that isn’t matched by many? Think before you speak.
    —————————————–
    This dude apparently doesn’t understand what the “juice” does for a person, makes them “monsters with non stop motors……” lol
    You find it ez to believe about guys like cushing, barry bonds, mcgwire, shawn merriman, etc. etc. have been tested and failed…….I would hold off on your support until matthews can publicly state that he has been tested and passed. Cushing and Matthews grew faster than Barry Bond’s head and Matthews couldn’t even make it as a backup at USC so he decided that he needed “a little help”…..his time will come for testing and IF he should fail, then what would you say???? Cushing’s own father still supports his son by living in denial…….it’s not uncommon.

  61. CJ SPILLER says: Nov 9, 2010 7:59 PM

    jojomellon says:
    November 9, 2010 3:28 PM
    CJ SPILLER
    You’re a dope. Tons of players mature in college. And again, most players are probably on stuff. Blaming a guy for using simply because he’s doing well is pretty messed up.
    ——————————————————-
    No, I don’t believe I am a dope…….I’m just being realistic…..like I said, I am not here to bash Matthews or the Packer fans. I like Matthews, he is one heck of a football player, but again you don’t go from 161 lbs to 255 lbs in college to the pro’s, it ain’t happening!! It has nothing to do with maturing. It’s impossible to put on that kind of weight and muscle without help. I know this for a fact. When I lived overseas, I use to work out with a dude that was Mr. Holland (he was a bodybuilder from the Netherlands). He worked my butt off. I gained about 20 lbs of muscle within the first year clean, no drugs. After that, didn’t gain all that much weight and muscle, a little, but it was very slow going and I had the body frame for it. I gained a little more weight, but mostly I got really cut, was in the best shape of my life. The human body can not put on the weight and muscle that Matthews has without roids!! Again, I myself don’t care if all of these guys play on roids, it won’t make me think any less of them, it’s there body, they should be able to do what they want. I still stand by my post.

  62. Blackn'Gold says: Nov 9, 2010 8:56 PM

    How long has Brian Cushing played middle linebacker, 3 weeks? I know the instant gratification generation has trouble with patience. Middle linebacker is different position with different assignments. What that means is Brian could be thinking too much as he is learning the position. It will come in time.
    It’s been a month and all of you expect Dick Butkus. It takes two years minimum to learn the Steelers defense. Give him a break.

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