Emin Avakian

Beware: Brian Cushing Is Back

Created on Aug. 24, 2013 6:00 AM EST

The Houston Texans' defense was formidable last season, giving up 20.7 points per game and guiding the team to a 12-4 season.

Moreover, defensive stalwart J.J. Watt was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Watt, and the unit as a whole, put up solid numbers without one of its captains though, and much to the chagrin of the rest of the league, Brian Cushing is back from his knee injury.

Cushing started five games last season before suffering the season-ending injury against the New York Jets. The pro-bowl linebacker and 2009 Associated Press defensive rookie of the year will be motivated to remind NFL offenses just why he received those accolades.

Cushing started 16 games in two of his first three seasons in the league, compiling 133 tackles in his rookie season (second in the NFL to Ray Lewis), and four interceptions. After a forgettable 2012 campaign in which he played in 12 games, Cushing responded with 114 tackles for the 2011 Texans.

The University of Southern California alumnus will take a lot of pressure off Watt and allow both players to roam freely. The two will surely make a case for the league’s best duo, and the discomfort to opposing quarterbacks will be wondrous for defensive back Johnathan Joseph and safety Ed Reed, who will have no problem snagging the errands throws.

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