Got something to say about Texans linebacker Cushing? Good

It's always interesting to think about how much athletes pay attention to the sports media. Sure, they go about their daily press conferences and interviews, talking about this team or that player and, of course, just how close to "100 percent" they're feeling that week.

But for many players, their attention to the writers in the locker rooms and clubhouses doesn't end when the recorders are switched off. For a lot athletes, the Internet is a revolving scavenger hunt of stories and bits of news broadcasting their every move and the players take notice.

Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is no exception. In Sam Farmer's recent story, Cushing is constantly searching the newspapers and websites for any mention of himself, not for pride or to boost his ego - his play on the field does enough of that - but for added incentive to keep playing at the level he's becoming known for.

As Houston's defense continues to improve, a lot of credit seems to shift to the front three, but it's Cushing, former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams and Co. at the linebacker position that have been instrumental in reshaping the unit that is quickly rising to one of the best in the AFC.

As the Los Angeles Times reporter notes, the former USC standout and defensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 is at it again this season, leading the team in tackles with 36 and trying to make it back to the Pro Bowl where he earned a spot two years ago.

The Texans will need Cushing at his best Sunday against the Ravens, too. Ray Rice is shifty but packs a punch in the running game, and with Joe Flacco likely eager to set up the play-action, Cushing will be the front line of defense against a potentially lethal offense.