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Brian Cushing: Texans playoff berth isn't good enough

The Houston Texans have won consecutive AFC South titles, but no longer is making the playoffs -- only to be abruptly swept out -- satisfactory.

"Getting to the playoffs isn't good enough for us anymore, and we understand that," Texans veteran middle linebacker Brian Cushing said, via the Houston Chronicle. "We've been in games and we were in a dogfight with New England until the third quarter and they go on to win the Super Bowl.

"I think it says a little bit about where we are and at the same time about how much further we have to go and we understand it. We're close, but we have a way to go. We're ready to take the next step."

Cushing added that he feels "100 percent" healthy after dealing with a knee issue last season.

The Texans boasted one of the fiercest defensive fronts in the NFL last season and will get J.J. Watt back after missing most of last year. The pass rush might be unblockable, but replacing defections from a stingy secondary -- A.J. Bouye, Quintin Demps -- will be challenging.

"Yeah, that's the NFL," Cushing said. "That's just how it goes. It's next man up. Unfortunately, you can't keep everybody on your team. As much as you would like to keep your core guys together, it doesn't work that way..."

The defense could be championship-ready, but the quarterback situation continues to be a frightening predicament that could sink the Texans, even after jettisoning Brock Osweiler.

"Yep, just a decision they made," Cushing said of cutting ties with Osweiler. "They went with it. We'll see who our quarterback is and go with it. Bottom line: I'm just playing defense and that's it. That's all I'm going to worry about."

That's all Cushing might need to worry about, but Houston fans will spend the next year fretting over the QB situation.

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