The Texans haven’t seen what Brian Cushing looks like at inside linebacker in their new 3-4 defense.
Still recovering from knee surgery on his patella tendon, Cushing hasn’t practiced at all in training camp. Coach Gary Kubiak spoke optimistically about the recovery of linebacker DeMeco Ryans Tuesday, but sounded a different note about Cushing.
“I’m concerned,” Kubiak said Tuesday via the Houston Chronicle. “He needs to get out here and go to work with his buddies. Obviously he had surgery done and we didn’t have him all offseason, so we couldn’t just throw him out there and watch him. . . . It’s hard to be at your best when you’re missing a lot of time, so we need to get him out there.”
It’s fair to be concerned. Cushing simply wasn’t the same player in 2010 after his PED suspension. If he starts to struggle with injuries, his career path will start looking too much like Shawne Merriman’s.
Cushing showed up at camp talking about losing 10 pounds. (As MDS notes, it’s always a little funny when guys busted for PEDs brag about losing weight.)
We think the Texans defense can improve greatly under Wade Phillips, but getting Cushing back on the field and effective again is a big x-factor.
UPDATE: Cushing heard Kubiak’s message. He returned to the field for “some” team drills on Wednesday morning, although not with the starters. We’ll keep an eye on his progress this month.