Two months removed from his last game, and just under six months away from the next regular season contest,
"It’s up there," the inside linebacker said of the unit's expectation level. "But we understand that we have to put the work forth. We have to go about it every single day and last year is over. Continue the momentum from last year, but at the same time don’t expect that it’s just going to happen."
The franchise's leading tackler spoke after a community event last week, and said he has no doubt the NFL's top-ranked defense in yards allowed last season, will strive for more of the same in 2017.
"This group, they understand it," Cushing said. "They get it. We work hard. We get after it and I’m excited to get back out there with them."
He also acknowledged there will be some differences with the loss of cornerback A.J. Bouye, safety Quintin Demps and linebacker John Simon. Cushing also said the promotion of coordinator Romeo Crennel to associate head coach, with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel taking Crennel's coordinator spot will jiggle some things as well.
The Texans will get back to work as a team for offseason conditioning work in mid-April at the Houston Methodisti Training Center and NRG Stadium.