View Full Version : Brian Cushing named AP Defensive R.O.Y.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-05-2010, 11:45 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- From the first practice in training camp until the last game, Brian Cushing was a tackling machine for the Houston Texans.

That's exactly what the team sought when it chose the linebacker from Southern Cal 15th overall in the draft last April. What the Texans also got is The Associated Press 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Cushing was a runaway winner in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Cushing received 39 votes Tuesday, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, who had six, and became the second Texans linebacker in four seasons to win the award. DeMeco Ryans took it in 2006.

"I'm just a much smarter football player," Cushing said. "I'm much more advanced than I was this time last year and it was just a good way to start out a career. I'm happy about how everything turned out this year. Of course the playoffs would have been nice, but now we know what we have to do for next season."

This season, Cushing had 133 tackles, 86 of them primary, according to the Texans, who went 9-7, their first winning record. He also had five sacks, four interceptions and forced two fumbles, numbers that normally belong to a seasoned veteran.

Which is exactly how the 22-year-old Cushing played.

"He brought another element to our football team: his love for the game, his passion, his play, playing beat up, all these things," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He played like a 10-year vet from the day he stepped on the field. Our players respect what he does with the game and how he goes about his business. We're very fortunate to have him and we're going to have him here for a long, long time. What a year. He was exceptional."

Nobody can understand or appreciate what Cushing accomplished better than Ryans, who made a similar impact in '06.

"Brian is a special player," Ryans said. "I saw when he first stepped on the field that he could be a special player for us. Just to watch him grow week in and week out, I'm just so proud of him. He's like my little brother out there. I'm always out there talking to him about how we can be great as a unit. I say it to him every week, 'Let's go out and be great and be the best linebackers in the league' and that's our motto and that's our goal."

They're closing in on it.

Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, who also went to Southern Cal and was a first-round draft pick, earned three votes. Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo got the other two

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/nfl/01/05/cushing.ap/index.html#ixzz0blFaVAH1

01-05-2010, 12:05 PM
Wow...surprised that Laurinaitis didn't even get a single vote. He had 120 tackles, a whopping 107 of which were solo's, and had some nice supplementary numbers, too. Cushing had the better year, no doubt, but Laurinaitis had a MUCH better season than either Orakpo or Matthews.

tony hipchest
01-05-2010, 07:05 PM
WOW! this madness has got to stop. laurinitus is a damn good player (and has all the potential to be great) but lets apply the breaks to the OSU homerism.

orakpo was tied for 7th in the league with 11 sacks (matthews had 10) ahead of the likes of ware, harrison, porter, mario williams, schoebel, peppers, and mathis.

being that we are comparing olb's to an interior or mlb, it is important to compare them to their peers instead of against eachother.

james was 14th in the league in tackles, and his sack numbers are a mere blip on the radar.

01-05-2010, 09:00 PM
Cushing deserved it. He dominated every aspect of football: Tackling, pressuring the QB, pass coverage. Not to mention a probowl.

01-05-2010, 09:10 PM
And I said he deserved it. I just thought Lil Animal deserved a mention.

Laurinaitis: 120 tackles (and, again, an ASTOUNDING 107 solo tackles), 2 sacks, 2 INT's, 1 forced fumble, 5 passes defensed.
Orakpo: 50 tackles, 11 sacks (THIS is why he's mentioned...this is a glam league and sacks and INT's are everything), 0 INT's, 1FF, 2 passes defensed.
Matthews: 50 tackles, 10 sacks (Sacks again), 1 FF, 7 passes defensed.

Regardless, congrats to all these guys. I had Cushing and Matthews both pegged as one-dimensional pass rushers, and Cushing turned out to be much more complete than that. I thought Orakpo might be Alonzo Jackson II, and he was a nice surprise.

01-06-2010, 09:39 AM
When I was forced to watch the Texans games because of where I live Cushing was a beast. The guy really has an act to be around the ball at all times. He was very deserving of this award.

01-06-2010, 01:57 PM
Byrd didn't get a single vote? Didn't he like 9 ints and didn't even play the whole year.

tony hipchest
01-06-2010, 02:00 PM
in the third paragraph of the article posted above it says byrd finished 2nd with 6 votes.

01-06-2010, 06:32 PM
Cushing deserved it, the guy is a BEAST.

01-06-2010, 11:42 PM
Cushing Will only get better, the guy has and will always be a tackling machine, probably one of the Best players to come out of Bergen Catholic and out of NJ. I will never forget how that guy lit me up like a Christmas tree when I played against him. Our QB threw and interception and i was not paying attention and he made me pay the price dearly. Congrats to him though. He used to be rumored to be a juicer back in HS though since he dropped significant weight when he entered USC, but I think he proves he wasnt under anything and is a hard worker.