Texans will use Brian Cushing at inside linebacker

While the Texans had one of the worst defenses in football last year, they also have a handful of big name performers; players who were drafted to play in a 4-3 defense.

On Friday, new linebackers coach Reggie Herring spoke about how the team plans to integrate Brian Cushing, DeMeco Ryans, and Mario Williams into Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense.

“We’re probably going to take a look at Brian inside at the Mike ‘backer position, strongside on the tight end, and then DeMeco will be the weakside Mo inside ‘backer,” Herring said via the team’s website.

When Phillips took over, he wasn’t sure where Cushing would fit.   This decision makes sense; he may not have the speed to play on the outside.   The position Cushing is moving to could lead to reduced stats.  Ryans is in a better spot to rack up tackles and the outside linebackers piling up sacks.

Connor Barwin and Jesse Nading will move to outside linebacker, while Mario Williams will remain at defensive end.  For now.

“I think Mario falls into the same category of we’ll start him out at defensive end and then see where he goes,” Herring said.   “Hopefully that’ll work out there, and if it doesn’t, then we’ll find another place to put him.”

The Texans can only hope they get enough practice time this offseason to get their players ready.

16 responses to “Texans will use Brian Cushing at inside linebacker

  1. I am interested to see how this works and how fast it comes together.

    I am a GB fan, and the transition was relatively smooth, they did start slow early in both seasons, but did well drafting and piecing it together and now have a top 5 D.

  2. Bad Idea. People forget that Cushing played d-end for a year at USC and is a great pass rusher. He is athletic enough to play in space, not as good at point of attack. I think he is a perfect fit for the OLB in a 3-4.
    I also think this pretty much guarantees the Texans will be drafting Von Miller or a hybrid OLB/DE who can rush the passer with their first round pick.

  3. I hope Wade Phillips can turn the defense around. Imagine what this team could be with a good d. That would make the O even better!

  4. Mario revealed that this was his first time ever lining up at strong safety, and attributed his difficulties to inexperience.

  5. I would move him back to olb and find more of a true thumper of an ILB to play next to Ryans as the fullback of the LBs.

    Cushing is a very good pass rusher, but really looked lost as a 4-3 mike linebacker and that is easier than playing a 3-4 ILB where he has to take on uncovered Gs or meet the FB in the hole.

    I think Williams can be a great 5t/3-4 DE. He is sort of like a bigger Bruce Smith type of rusher who can 1 or 2 gap, but looked a little stiff as a contain man and can get washed past the QB a little too often from the wide alignment.

    They are going to need a nose and an ILB willing to do the downhill dirty work, but the rest of the front 7 players should should not have trouble changing roles from 4-3 to 3-4.

  6. If Wade phillips is involved with this team and especially it’s defense they are doomed. Wade is on a mission to destroy the football teams in Texas.

  7. And the downward slide of Brian Cushing’s career continues…

    That being said, not all ILBs in a 3-4 are thumpers. Generally, the two ILBs have different responsibilities in run support, one is a thumper and the other is a chaser. I imagine that Cushing’s role will be the latter. So at least he’s playing the more glamorous of two unglamorous positions.

  8. @possiblecabbage The article said Cushing was playing over the TE–so that would make him the thumper. Leaving Demeco Ryans free to make the majority of the splash plays. Cushing must have not been living right. He had a horrible follow up yr–now must be asked to play a position that’s not as glamorous in the 3-4. Taking on blocks eats away at the ability to make ‘Splash” plays. “Bart Scott” plays that position while David Harris racks up stats. Cushing would be a great OLB in the 3-4. He started at DE in that infamous Nat’l Championship game in 07

  9. Make a 22 player trade with the Broncos who are converting to the 4-3. Not sure who would get the worst of that exchange.

  10. The Texans need to do something about that secondary. Moving to a 3-4 won’t help their Defense.
    Mario Williams is showing promise and moving him inside may affect his stats too.

  11. therealjimmysmith says:
    Feb 18, 2011 3:31 PM
    Bad Idea. People forget that Cushing played d-end for a year at USC and is a great pass rusher. He is athletic enough to play in space, not as good at point of attack. I think he is a perfect fit for the OLB in a 3-4.

    ++++++++++++

    You idiot, that was Clay Matthews that played DE at USC. Brian Cushing came into, and always was a LB at USC. Get your performance enhancing drug using white USC LBs straight, please!

  12. 1 – He is NOT too slow rather one of the faster LB’s in the game.

    2 – He would be good inside or outside.

    3 – IMO he would be best staying at the strong side OLB position with Connor Barwin at ROLB and Mario Williams switched between RDE – LDE to create pass protection problems.

  13. I had a brain fart and I was thinking Cushing was going into the Major League Baseball draft for a second.

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