The Texans suffered a season-ending injury to a defensive player for the second week in a row. Backup defensive end Tim Jamison’s Achilles injury has landed him on Injured Reserve, which will put the D-line rotation into flux.
Sure, Jamison is not a starter, but you’ve been watching the Wade Phillips defense long enough now that you know he runs a lot of rotations on the defensive line.
The Texans have promoted practice squad defensive lineman David Hunter to the active roster. Gary Kubiak said on his weekly radio appearance that Hunter has won the defensive “scout team player of the week” award three out of the first five weeks. Really? There’s an award for that? Apparently.
So Hunter will hit the 53-man roster, and the Texans will move forward. Kubiak also sung the praises of Earl Mitchell on his radio program, noting that one of the things they love about him is his ability to play the outside and inside. Mitchell is getting equal reps with “starter” Shaun Cody these days, but it sounds like he may slide outside more often in Jamison’s absence.
Rookie DE Jared Crick also figures to see the field more, but he had only seen 33 snaps on defense (through the first five weeks). If Mitchell is truly going to slide outside more with Jamison gone, Crick’s snaps may not increase as much as I initially thought they would.
With the loss of Brian Cushing and a key rotational player like Jamison, Phillips certainly has no shortage of challenges this week. At least one Texans defender (I don’t recall which) has already admitted the Texans missed Cushing’s emotion on Sunday night. That kind of scares me. Cushing’s emotional “lift” should be a bonus to the team, not something they count on him for.
Houston’s awful performance on Sunday night dropped their defensive rank from constantly in the top three, to number six overall. A hot Aaron Rodgers will do that to you. The Texans will be challenged against the Ravens next, who suddenly are generating some good offensive numbers, but are upside-down on defense. If the Texans were crushed by the loss of Brian Cushing, imagine if the team had lost both Cushing AND Johnathan Joseph in the same game? That’s essentially what happened to Baltimore when they lost LB Ray Lewis to a torn tricep, and their best CB Ladarius Webb to what I believe is a torn ACL, for the rest of the 2012 season.
You have to believe there will be more injuries as the season goes, as is typical in the NFL. The only way the Texans are going to continue to win through a tough stretch in the schedule, is if players like Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin, Bradie James, Tim Dobbins, and others on the defense step their game up to make up for a couple of important losses.
Side note – last year’s starting inside linebackers – DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing. Now? Bradie James and Tim Dobbins.