Upon hearing about the severity of Brian Cushing’s injury, there will be those who maintain faith about the Texans and their undefeated season, and their ability to keep that unblemished record in tact even without one of the league’s premier tacklers. They’ll point to the glut of injuries sustained by the Texans last year, a vortex that sucked back two quarterbacks, Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, and Arian Foster for a handful of games.
So brace for impact, clingers of hope, and just completely forget that although it was a joyous occasion last January when Houston won a playoff game with some guy named T.J. Yates as their quarterback, they lost three straight games to end the season, which included losses to the lowly Colts, Panthers, and Titans.
Alright, ready? Because I’ve buried this lede far enough to delay the agony. The Texans fear that Cushing will be lost for the season due to a torn ACL, according to a report early this morning from Pro Football Talk. An MRI later today will reveal the severity of the injury, but Cushing was on crutches after Houston’s Monday night win over the Jets following a cut block by guard Matt Slauson.
The block itself will immediately become this week’s topic of choice for polarizing debate. It was certainly questionable, and certainly low, and it’s definitely pissed off Cushing’s college buddies. Clay Matthews wondered quite fairly why the league is so eager to protect wide receivers and quarterbacks and curb hits to the head (say, how ’bout those game-changing roughing the passer calls that amounted to a normal sack or hit, oh, three years ago?) yet dangerous, potentially career-altering blocks like the one that has likely knocked Cushing out for the season aren’t given any thought.
And while Texans fans will quite rightfully lament the loss of a defensive leader who had 114 tackles last year, the discussion will center around the legality of the Slauson block. It was a play that happens more often than even the most avid viewer may realize. An aggressive, efficient tackler is in pursuit, and the offensive player is trailing, so his only recourse of action is to launch himself, and effectively trip the tackler with his body.
If he does this and it results in an injury, he gets our ire and anger. But if he doesn’t do it and the tackler makes the play, he gets the ire and anger of his coach, or many coaches. He’s simply not doing his job then, and he’s therefore negligent.
I hated the block, and hated the play. But it’s the same kind of block that ended Eric Berry’s season a year ago, and it will surely end more seasons. For now, it remains a consequence or our brute sport, and in the same way that the anti-concussion legislation crowd shrugs off injuries, this falls into the same category.
Even Cushing himself understands those consequences. He doesn’t share your anger.
From USA Today:
“I got cut. I got cut on a run play. It happens,” Cushing said when asked if he was aware what had happened. “I was just keeping my head up. Whatever happens, happens. It’s football. It’s part of the game.”
A part that made a few folks angry.
“Yeah, well, I would be too if it would’ve happened to someone else,” Cushing said. “But it happened to me, and I’ve been on the other side of that, so I know how it goes.”
The block was questionable and awful, but not illegal, and maybe it should be.
And now the links part of the links post…
- So Mark Sanchez is struggling and has absolutely no one of note to throw the ball to or make any kind of play ever, which definitely means that Tim Tebow is the answer RIGHT NOW. [Steve Serby]
- Some wide receiver named Jason Hill was signed by the Jets on Wednesday, and he played 21 snaps last night. But hey, change the QB now because Tebow. [Manish Metha on Twitter]
- The Vikings’ defense is quickly becoming the unit to avoid during any fantasy week. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
- And any Patriots’ offensive player is quickly becoming a player to own, because New England is on pace to smash all of the records. [The Associated Press]
- We’ll dig into this a little more later on today during the weekly waiver wire manifesto, but following Cedric Benson’s injury, Alex Green is the RB you want in Green Bay’s backfield. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be anything more than a flex play. [Patrick Daugherty]