The suspension of Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing will have a domino effect on the rest of the team’s linebackers, with one starter changing positions and two backups vying for a starting spot for the first four weeks of the season.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that while Cushing serves his four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, he is expected to be replaced as the starting strong side linebacker by Zac Diles, who will move from his customary spot as the starting weak side linebacker. Diles previously started on the strong side for the first eight games of 2008, until he was lost for the season with an injury.
The void created on the weak side by Diles moving to the strong side will be filled in a training camp competition, as veteran Xavier Adibi and rookie Darryl Sharpton will compete for Diles’ weak-side job. Adibi started five games in 2008 after Diles got hurt. The Texans took Sharpton out of Miami in the fourth round of the draft.
The Texans are also likely to add a veteran free agent linebacker to add some depth before training camp.