On Wednesday, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing met with members of the media prior to his team's matchup with the Buccaneers in Houston. Cushing, a former Pro Bowler who leads the Texans in tackles, is preparing to combat Jameis Winston, whose performance in Week 2 was strong enough to earn him a nomination for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award. From watching the game film, Cushing said that Winston's game-by-game improvement is apparent.
"I think that he looks a lot more comfortable, in terms of Jameis going into his second game and kind of finding his groove and figuring out how he wants to attack defenses," Cushing said. "I think they got so far behind [in] the first game, it was kind of just trying to come back and overcome that deficit the entire game. For the second game, he felt more comfortable, got in a groove, got some plays going. Obviously got Doug [Martin] running well with the ball and was able to make some critical throws."
Winston accounted for two touchdowns in the Buccaneers' Week 2 victory over New Orleans, earning one in the air and one on the ground. He was rated the league's No. 7 quarterback, per Pro Football Focus, and finished with a passer rating of 114.6.
Last week, several members of the Saints said they didn't expect the Jameis Winston they saw on film during Week 1 to be the same player taking the field during Week 2. Cushing echoed a similar sentiment, saying that he expects the rookie quarterback to continue to progress against the Texans in Week 3.
"Now it being game three, he's going to be more comfortable," Cushing said. "Got a big win on the road, it's never easy in the NFL, so he's got that under his belt. He's going to be feeling a lot better going into this game and, like I said, once he gets into a groove and starts running a little bit and making plays and extending plays is when he's really dangerous."
The Bucs will attempt to keep Cushing as far as possible from their rookie quarterback. So far, Cushing has yet to record a sack this season.