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Texans Hoping Big Things From Brian Cushing in 2011

In 2009, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after posting 133 tackles, with four quarterback sacks and four interceptions. 2010 was a much tougher season for Cushing.

Suspended for the first games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy during his rookie year, Cushing had 76 tackles, but recorded just 1.5 quarterback sacks as the Texans dropped to 30th in the NFL in total defense.

Heading into 2011, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and first-year defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have high expectations for Cushing, writes Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.

“I think he’ll be a great player,” Kubiak said of the 16th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. “I think he’ll be gangbusters.”

After two seasons at outside linebacker, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Cushing is moving to inside linebacker in Phillips’ 3-4 system.

“He’s a violent player,” Phillips said. “You can tell even on tape that he loves to play. He’s going to be a get-after-’em kind of guy. He’s tough, real physical. He has good instincts and can run.”

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