2013 Texans' Inside Linebacker Outlook
The biggest concern with this position group is the overall health, and with the three key linebackers all ending the 2012 season on the injured reserve there is reason for concern.
The heartbeat and attitude of the defense, Cushing was a missing factor to the defense in 2012. He has been cleared for training camp and is expected to be brought along slowly for the season. Cushing has been moving well during his workouts with the trainers but getting him mentally right for the season is key. Him coming back in 2013 could easily be the biggest addition to the defense.
Outlook: Texans should take care of his health heading into the season. Cushing has to stay healthy for this defense to get back to it's old ways.
Three years in the NFL and all three ended on the injured reserve with a different injury. Sharpton is finally deemed healthy for this season and was a big reason the Texans traded DeMeco Ryans. He is a good compliment to Cushing on the inside but he is going to have to be able to put it together for a complete season. Being physical is not his issue as he is a two down linebacker for the Texans, it is just the healthy issue for the veteran.
Outlook: If he can stay healthy, his production will be there.
A special teams captain for the Texans since he arrived two seasons ago, he is a top special teams player for the Texans. He will be the primary backup to Sharpton and will be the third linebacker in short yardage situations. Dobbins is a solid player for the Texans and could be thrust into the lineup due to injuries.
Outlook: Quality depth player and can be a spot starter when needed.
Came off the practice squad late in the season and actually played special teams during the playoffs. He is a tall and well put together inside linebacker, but he needs time to get his opportunity on the field. He can help the team especially on special teams. The offseason did him well as he put on some more weight to hold up better as an inside linebacker.
Outlook: Has a chance to be the 4th inside linebacker on the team and special teams play will be key for him.
Signed as a free agent shortly after the 2012 season, Mohamed is a young linebacker looking for a bigger opportunity to make the team. Mohamed has just as good of a chance behind the three veterans to make this team and the open competition will be a camp battle to watch.
Outlook: Mohamed has to show he can play the position and, most importantly, be worthy on special teams.
A rookie from SMU, Davis is a stout inside player that looks for contact. When he gets moving forward, he is looking for the ball carrier and he fits the mold of a two down linebacker. He has to overtake some players on the depth chart but Davis is one to watch when the contact begins.
Outlook: The uncertainty of the inside linebacker group gives Davis a chance to make a positive impression.
Frierson has a nice skill set and it comes into play when he is in coverage. He excels in coverage and showed it during the practices in 7 on 7 drills covering running backs and tight ends. He can run with the faster players and his agility is evident in tight spaces on the field. Once again, when the pads get put on it will help separate the group.
Outlook: Frierson is a solid player and will have to put it together quick to climb the depth chart.