Brian Cushing has been tremendous in leading the team in tackles. Connor Barwin has been consistent from start to finish. Rookie Brooks Reed has improved since being forced into the starting lineup. DeMeco Ryans should have a better second half now that hell get more playing time. Theyve overcome the loss of Mario Williams, who still leads the team with five sacks. ** Johnathan Joseph has become a shutdown corner. Hes tied for the team lead with Jason Allen with three interceptions each. Despite the criticism directed at Kareem Jackson, he cant be too bad considering opponents are completing only 50.8 percent and have a rating of 65.9. Glover Quin has been excellent at strong safety. Brice McCain has played well as the nickel corner. Danieal Manning was playing well until he was injured. Watch his replacement, Troy Nolan, start to make plays. http://blog.chron.com/nfl/2011/11/texans-mid-season-report-card/ **** We all like Brian Cushing, and he gets a lot of print including story-themes and photos in the local Houston paper. Hey he's a real hard-hitting, hustling guy who's very animated, but inside LB is a virtual second-tier defensive position even just within the LB corp of the 3-4 defense. Now CB is another story, and according to local NFL journalist John McClain Joseph is a "shutdown corner". I don't know, have the Texans ever had a "shutdown corner" ? That's a rare breed, and oh so critically important to a team like the Texans and it's rejuvenated defense.