Texans tie for NFL lead with 3 defenders in Pro Bowl

The Texans have the league's most improved defense since Week 4, and that progress was reflected in the 2010 Pro Bowl roster selections announced Tuesday.

Three Texans defenders --- linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing and defensive end Mario Williams --- were named to the Pro Bowl. That put the Texans in a four-way tie with the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos for having the most defensive Pro Bowlers of any team in the league.

Cushing is one of three rookies in the Pro Bowl along with defensive end Brian Orakpo (Washington Redskins) and free safety Jairus Byrd (Buffalo Bills), who is on injured reserve. No other team has two Pro Bowl linebackers this season.

"I'm always talking to (Cushing) about how we can be great as a unit," Ryans said on Tuesday. "I say that to him every week: 'Let's go out and be great. Let's be the best linebackers in the league.' That's our motto and that's our goal when we step out there on Sunday—to be the best."

Wide receiver Andre Johnson, the league's leading receiver, is the lone representative of the Texans' fifth-ranked offense. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub didn't make it despite leading the league with 4,467 passing yards. Schaub, kick returner Jacoby Jones and fullback Vonta Leach were named Pro Bowl alternates.

Because the Pro Bowl will be played a week before the Super Bowl this season, alternates will have a better chance of getting a spot in the game than in years past. Players from the two Super Bowl teams will not play in the Pro Bowl, and players from the two teams that lose their conference championship games a week before the Pro Bowl could be too banged up to play in the game.

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