The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t keeping the training wheels on Devin Bush. Opening OTAs for the first time of the season, Bush reportedly ran with the starters for “most of the day,” according to this tweet/report from the Post-Gazette’s Sarah K. Spencer.
Bush flashed a big smile when asked about running with the first-team defense for most of the day.
“It’s a super learning experience. The guys get to learn me and I get to play alongside them and build some relationships.”
— Sarah K. Spencer (@sarah_k_spence) May 21, 2019
Of course, this will bring up shades of Ryan Shazier, who was running with the 1st team during the spring of his rookie season. He ended up starting the first five games of 2014 before missing a month with an injury.
Being a starter and ideally, a three-down player, will require Bush to be the signal caller of the defense. The man who wears the green dot on the back of his helmet, gets the playcall from the sideline, and aligns the front while adjusting to any audibles and motions the offense responds with. As Spencer’s tweet notes, Vince Williams seems to be taking Bush under his wing. Williams served as the team’s signal caller last season, the team opting to play him even on 3rd and long. After beating the Patriots, Mike Tomlin noted how important his communication was, even if it meant sacrificing a bit of athleticism.
“I can’t say enough about Vince Williams in what he was able to do in terms of being a central communicator throughout the game,” Tomlin said in his next press conference. “It allowed us to settle in and match some of the pace things they do and things they do very well. I thought communication was an element of that performance.”
Calling the defense won’t be brand new for Bush either. He served in that role at Michigan and repeatedly earned high praise from defensive coordinator Don Brown.
“The thing I remember most with him is he would come and sit between series on the sideline and if I’m sitting here, he’s sitting right there,” Brown said in a video posted by the school, transcribed via The Michigan Insider. “Didn’t matter what the score was, he was the leader and he was right there — on every word and every adjustment. He was the guy [on the] field that the players trusted, that I trusted.”
That’s what it’s about. Trust. Communication. And early on, it sounds like Bush is well on his way to earning that.