The Defensive Rookie of the Year, Brian Cushing, has been suspended four games for using performance enhancing substances. This just goes to show how precarious the draft can be, and why having character is so important. Cushing's season was as spectacular as any team could hope for from a mid-first round pick. His four game suspension will leave the Texans' defense a clear step below where they were last year when he was present.
The Texans first four games come against the Colts, Redskins, Cowboys, and Raiders. This could turn out to be an enormous advantage for the Jaguars in the AFC South... Let's look at the debacle of an off-season the Texans have had.
First of all, we were given an early Christmas present in the form of a Gary Kubiak extension earlier this year. It's almost as if he and his staff panic, both in the draft "war room", and on the field. The team's average drafting, coupled with his extreme knack for calling just the wrong plays at just the right time, will now continue for the foreseeable future.
As for Cushing, he is facing unparalleled scrutiny due to the fact that he was the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season. There are calls by players and members of the media for the removal of his award. Regardless, the team will suffer immensely in his absence, and could feasibly start the season 0-3.
The Colts, Skins, and Boys all feature top-tier offenses and the value Cushing brought can't be understated. His play warranted the reward he received last season, and we'll know how much the banned substances had to do with that play upon his return. The Texans simply don't have another player the quality of Cushing in their LB corp, as DeMeco Ryans just doesn't bring the size, or what appeared to be the natural rushing ability, that Brian Cushing does.