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Old 06-24-2011   #1
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Default Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

A case is being made for Cushing the pass rusher

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Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing Can Rush The Passer

A common thought amongst Houston Texans fans was that outside linebacker Brian Cushing did not have a good season at all. Some pondered whether or not his performance-enhancing incident really did enhance performance while others wondered if he ever got into gear after missing a month, shifting positions, and having to play without DeMeco Ryans. Both are valid schools of thought that will have to wait until the 2011 NFL season for further support to their claims. Oddly enough, Cushing did excel at something last season – pass rushing. Jump with me to see who said this and why.

According to the guys at Pro Football Focus, Cushing was the sixth productive pass rushing linebacker in 2010 (who met the minimum of 90 pass rushing snaps and played 4-3 LB or 3-4 ILB). Cushing had 25 pressures in 154 pass rushing snaps which equated out to a 12.34 pass-rushing productivity ranking. For math and metrics buffs, PRP can be represented by the following formula (excuse all the parenthesis):

Pass-Rushing Productivity = (Sacks + (Hits x 0.75) + (Pressures x 0.75))/ Number of Pass Rushes x 100.

Pro Football Focus, like with many other metrics they've written about this season, looked at PRP going back three seasons. Cushing’s 2010 wasn’t a fluke as he finished second in the three-year study with a 13.92 PRP (282 rushes, 50 pressures).


Cushing’s ability to blitz should provide a little more hope for Wade Phillips’ front-seven restoration plans. Wade, as many have stated, runs an incredibly aggressive, one-gap system that focuses on getting after the quarterback. The left inside linebacker, Cushing's new position on the defense, plays a significant role in this system.

A month ago, the esteemed Chris Watkins pondered if Cushing could fill the Karl Mecklenburg role in Wade’s defense. This study from PFF is good evidence for the argument that Cushing can play that role and play it well. Once the lockout ends, Cushing will have the opportunity to answer the questions that many had about him last season.
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Old 06-24-2011   #2
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

thanks for posting a positive thread in a sea of negativity (not you of course). I just would also like to add that Cushing could play any of the LB positions in Wade Phillips system, which would suggest he is not locked into ILB solely.
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Old 06-24-2011   #3
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Anybody know what Cushing is up to this offseason ? I seem to recall he
bought a very expensive house in the Houston area, so perhaps he's hanging around Houston during this offseason ? Or maybe he's back home in NJ or out west in SoCal taking more classes at USC ?
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Old 06-24-2011   #4
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Cushing has been put in a tough spot. Coming into the league there was talk of steroid use, then he does get suspended for using a banded substance. He misses a month, has to fly into the MLB role after missing that month of football. Struggles, gets moved back and then has to acclimate himself back to OLB after trying to learn a new position, to now be moved once again only the players are locked out and he can't talk to any of his coaches and does not have the benefit of leaning on teammates cus they don't know either.

Welcome to the NFL.
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Old 06-24-2011   #5
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Originally Posted by TEXANRED View Post
Cushing has been put in a tough spot. Coming into the league there was talk of steroid use, then he does get suspended for using a banded substance. He misses a month, has to fly into the MLB role after missing that month of football. Struggles, gets moved back and then has to acclimate himself back to OLB after trying to learn a new position, to now be moved once again only the players are locked out and he can't talk to any of his coaches and does not have the benefit of leaning on teammates cus they don't know either.

Welcome to the NFL.
Getting suspended for using a banned substance was all on him. There are no excuses.
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Old 06-24-2011   #6
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Getting suspended for using a banned substance was all on him. There are no excuses.
but he's got a genetic condition that causes him to have high doses of that!
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Old 06-24-2011   #7
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

It is probable that Cushing took some kind of steroids that helped his 2009 season but likely that he curtailed it when he got caught early on. He was a beast during the whole season and especially at the end when he probably was not using. 2010 had a host of reasons as listed by cloakanddagger why he had a worse year. Also the generally horrible defense made everyone in a reactive mode. Cushing is a physical speciman and workout fiend. I see more reasons than not for him to have an outstanding year in 2011. Pressure up the middle is the thing that can kill an offense and even the Cushing of 2011 can be outstanding at that.
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Old 06-24-2011   #8
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

sorry even the Cushing of 2010 can be outstanding at pressure up the middle.
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Old 06-24-2011   #9
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Is'm not too worried about Cushing. Steroids or no, he's a football player & a damn good one.

I think his "disappearance" last season was due to the ridiculous pansy-play-it-safe defense we employed in 2010.

But when there was nothing to lose & they had to do what they had to do, they (including Cush) played pretty well. Otherwise those come backs wouldn't have been possible.

Hopefully, Wade will do what he says & dictate on defense.
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Old 06-24-2011   #10
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

I was listening to NFL channel on Sirius and Carl Banks thought the same thing. His opinion is that MW at WOLB is a smokescreen and Cush will fill that role with Barwin and Reed fighting for the other spot. Good read.
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Old 06-24-2011   #11
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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I was listening to NFL channel on Sirius and Carl Banks thought the same thing. His opinion is that MW at WOLB is a smokescreen and Cush will fill that role with Barwin and Reed fighting for the other spot. Good read.
Really?

Haven't heard/seen this.

Link?
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Old 06-25-2011   #12
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Could Brian Cushing Fill The Karl Mecklenburg Role In Wade Phillips' 3-4?

Quote:
by Chris Watkins • May 8, 2011 1:40 PM CDT

In the 3-4 defense, the weakside OLB is the guy who gets the glory, as far as sack numbers go. DeMarcus Ware would of course be the popular current example of this. Note, however, that in the past the left ILB on teams with Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator have seen higher sack numbers than you might expect.

Now, I realize that this is probably due more to the player and surrounding personnel than it is the scheme, but it's just some food for thought as we patiently wait for this God-forsaken work stoppage to end.

Presumably, Brian Cushing will play the strongside (left) inside linebacker position for the Texans in 2011. Cushing is one of these "relentless motor" guys, similar to Bronco standout Karl Mecklenburg. Here's a look at what Mecklenburg was able to do from a sack standpoint at the same position with Wade Phillips as his defensive coordinator:



Karl Mecklenburg, LILB, Denver Broncos: Sack Numbers

1989: 15 games started, 7.5 sacks
1990: 16 games started, 5.0 sacks
1991: 16 games started, 9.0 sacks
1992: 16 games started, 7.5 sacks

Then in 1993 Phillips took over as head coach of the Broncos, but his defensive scheme remained in place. Mecklenburg's numbers continue...

1993: 16 games started, 9 sacks

In 1994, the Broncos switched to a 4-3 defense.

Now, again, we don't know if Brian Cushing can be Karl Mecklenburg. He certainly has more natural talent than Mecklenburg did, but that of course isn't what makes a successful NFL player.

Just ponder... but don't check the LILB sack numbers for some of the other defenses Wade was in charge of, because those statistics don't fit my narrative. *runs away*
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Old 06-25-2011   #13
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Brady James had 8 sacks in 2008 for the Cowboys @ ILB. More relevant than 20 years ago.
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Old 06-25-2011   #14
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan View Post
Brady James had 8 sacks in 2008 for the Cowboys @ ILB. More relevant than 20 years ago.

Dallas Cowboys Brady James Sacks:

2007--3

2008--8

2009--2

2010--1
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Old 06-25-2011   #15
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Really?

Haven't heard/seen this.

Link?
No link. I was listening to the radio when he said it. A caller called in and asked about MW and the Texans LB corps. That is a direct quote of Carl Banks though, but just his opinion.
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Old 06-25-2011   #16
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

He's the Steve Slaton of the defense, IMO.

Lit it up his rookie year, problems and setbacks since then, looks a little lost or a little slow to react out on the field.

I bet this pisses a lot of you off, for me to even throw that comparison out there. Stop being married to our players. Stop having pet projects you think will pan out "if they can stay on one position" and "if he is used right on the system" and "if" and "if" and "if."

This is the NFL. You either got it, or you don't. And even if you got it, you can have your ankle fractured in a meaningless preseason game like Ben Tate. Players who have "it" and stay on top, and play a long time in the NFL at a high level are just rare air. I'm beginning to see why a few people on here, pre-draft a few years back, were not so thrilled about the possibility of Cushing becoming a Texans draft pick.

IMO, he's going to have re-invent himself and get some mojo back. It's funny how Clay Matthews was treated as a red-headed step-child compared to Cushing and the other big-name USC LB...yet he is flying around all season long and won a SB ring and did real, legitimate damage the whole time.

Picture Clay Matthews and Brooks Reed on our defense. With JJ Watt, Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, and a few other fillers on our front 7.

I don't have a good feeling about Brian Cushing.
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Old 06-25-2011   #17
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Originally Posted by DocBar View Post
No link. I was listening to the radio when he said it. A caller called in and asked about MW and the Texans LB corps. That is a direct quote of Carl Banks though, but just his opinion.
OK, thanks.
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Old 06-25-2011   #18
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan View Post
Brady James had 8 sacks in 2008 for the Cowboys @ ILB. More relevant than 20 years ago.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
Dallas Cowboys Brady James Sacks:

2007--3

2008--8

2009--2

2010--1
Doesn't Brady James play the Mike? The right ILB position that Demeco is going to be playing?

I though Brooking was the Moe, left ILB in Dallas' 3-4
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Old 06-25-2011   #19
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

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Doesn't Brady James play the Mike? The right ILB position that Demeco is going to be playing?

I though Brooking was the Moe, left ILB in Dallas' 3-4
Cushing will be playing bradie james position and Ryans will be playing keith Brookings position. Both will have plenty of oppertunities to blitz but Cushing will get alot more.
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Old 06-26-2011   #20
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Default Re: Cushing "The Pass Rusher"

Back in January, I was spurred to research Cushing's 2010 performance in comparison to his peers. This was in response to some kid who joined the forums and started spamming it with nonsense.

What I concluded was that Cushing lead the front seven in tackles per game and passes defensed. Despite missing four games and playing two in an unfamiliar position, he had two sacks and had more tackles than Demarcus Ware, Terrell Suggs, and Troy Palomalu.

Thread link

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Originally Posted by Brisco_County View Post
Going from four to zero is a 100% decline, not 400%.

...

Our secondary has allowed 277 passing yards per game, worst in the league. They have allowed 55 completions of over 20 yards, which is tied for 3rd worst with the Cowboys and Redskins. We have allowed 17 completions of over 40 yards, worst in the league.

This is called analysis:

The data poses these questions: How has an unsupportive secondary effected the stats of the front seven? How do Cushing's stats compare to the rest of the front seven? How do Cushing's stats compare to the rest of the linebackers in the league?

Let's list the data:

Antonio Smith: Tackles- 35 // Sacks- 4 // F Fumbles- 1 // Int- 0 // Pass Def- 2
Mark Anderson: Tackles- 25 // Sacks- 4 // F Fumbles- 0 // Int- 0 // Pass Def-2
Shaun Cody: Tackles- 35 // Sacks- 0 // F Fumbles- 1 // Int- 0 // Pass Def-0
Amobi Okoye: Tackles- 39 // Sacks- 2 // F Fumbles- 0 // Int- 0 // Pass Def-0
Earl Mitchell: Tackles- 27 // Sacks- 1 // F Fumbles- 0 // Int- 0 // Pass Def- 0
Mario Williams: Tackles- 28 // Sacks- 8.5 // F Fumbles- 1 // Int- 0 // Pass Def- 2
Kevin Bentley: Tackles- 50 // Sacks- 0 // F Fumbles- 0 // Int- 1 // Pass Def- 1
Zach Diles: Tackles- 79 // Sacks- 0 // F Fumbles- 0 // Int- 0 // Pass Def-0

Brian Cushing: Tackles- 71 // Sacks- 2 // F Fumbles- 1 // Int- 0 // Pass Def-4

The front seven have one interception, credited to Bentley. They have four forced fumbles, of which Cushing is credited for one. The entire defense has 28 sacks, of which Mario has 8.5 and Cushing has 2. The front seven have 9 passes defensed, of which Cushing has 4.

Cushing has 6.45 tackles per game, and Zach Diles has 5.26. Glover Quin has 80 tackles, and 5.3 per game. Bernard Pollard leads the defense in total tackles (112) and tackles per game (7.46).

Comparing this to the rest of the league:

There is a three way tie among linebackers for the most interceptions: AJ Hawk, EJ Henderson, and Takeo Spikes. They each have three.

James Harrison leads all linebackers in forced fumbles with 6.

Derrick Johnson of KC leads all linebackers in passes defensed with 15. Second place is London Fletcher with 11.

Cameron Wake of Miami has 15 sacks. He plays in a 3-4.

Jared Mayo leads all linebackers in tackles with 169. Stephen Tolluck has 155.

This is called a conclusion:

Cushing leads the front seven in tackles per game with 6.45.

Cushing leads the front seven in passes defensed with 4.

Cushing leads the linebackers in sacks with 2.

Cushing has more tackles than Demarcus Ware (61), Terrell Suggs (65), and safety Troy Palomalu (62).

At Cushing's current rate of 6.45 tackles per game, he would have 96 to 97 total tackles if he played 15 games, a stat that still does not account for playing two games at MLB. This year, James Laurenitis leads all second-year defenders with 105 tackles.

Cushing missed four games, was taken out of his natural position for two, and plays for a secondary that allows footballs to be thrown over his head the entire game, yet he can still hang with the upper tier of linebackers in the league.

...
Going by stats, no one can call his 2010 season a disappearing act. The defense wasn't putting anyone in a position to excel.
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