Teams formulate plans to block him because he’s a dangerous rusher. The Texans have a lot of other dangerous rushers, however. They don’t have a lot of other inside linebackers who can run and cover the way Cushing can, and when he’s absent it’s sure to be a spot that gets targeted.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips loves Cushing as much as anyone. But he jumped to point out that the Texans had a great deal of defensive success against the Jets after the linebacker left the field. Tim Dobbins took Cushing’s spot in the base personnel, and Bradie James stayed on the field to assume Cushing’s role in the nickel package.
The drop off from Cushing to those guys is more significant than it is from any of the Texans other stars to their backups.
As reporters approached Dobbins to ask about his expanded role with Cushing gone, Dobbins repeatedly shook his head and said he didn’t really want to talk about it.
“I’m a small fry in this world,” he said. “We didn’t know what’s wrong with him, if he’s going to be out or not. I stay ready so I don’t ever need to get ready.”
We still get pressure up front, Dobbins is an excellent run stopper, and this is still a championship caliber team.