The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their second week of OTA practices on Thursday and while there weren’t too many reports on the progress that’s been made by rookie inside linebacker Devin Bush, the team’s first-round draft pick this year, through the team’s first six practices, the quick review that veteran guard Ramon Foster gave of the Michigan product during his late-week one-on-one interview was extremely encouraging.
“Devin, you can tell he was first-round for a reason,” Foster told Mike Prisuta of steelers.com. “The guy moves flawlessly, man. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing and you can tell our defensive coordinators, our defensive coaches coaches and some of the older guys and kind of pushing also to get it down. And he’s doing a really good job at it. You can tell he’s like a sponge, man. I’m excited to see him.”
During an interview with Mark Madden this past week on 105.9 The X, Bush talked a little about what NFL coaching has been like for him so far in Pittsburgh.
“Just that whole collection of guys, Coach T [Mike Tomlin] and Coach O [Jerry Olsavsky], man, they do a lot of teaching, Bush said. “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned and that’s one thing Coach T prides himself on is learning those lessons and going through trials. Being able to recognize the lessons and learn from them to keep going day-by-day and not hold your head down when things don’t go your way. It’s going to be a journey. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, there’s going to be times you have to learn. Sometimes you have to teach other guys. So, as you go, you just got to take it all in and just know that you’re gonna get better, you’re not going to get worse from these lessons, if you apply them the right way.”
Bush also named off several defensive teammates that have helped him tremendously so far through two weeks of OTA practices both on and off the field.
“A little bit everybody, Bush said. From T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Joe Haden, a lot of those guys, man. Just being around them and just listening to them talk and the way they conduct themselves on the field and off the field, you can learn a lot from them.”
Obviously, Bush is also getting a lot of help from the player he’s trying to replace the production of in the Steelers defense, rehabbing inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who will spend a second-consecutive season on the team’s Reserve/PUP list in 2019 due to a spinal injury he suffered late in the 2017 regular season.
“He’s just a big brother really to me,” Bush said of Shazier. “He’s there whenever I need him. We text and we talk about life and we talk about football. He’s like, ‘anytime you need anything, anytime you want to talk about anything, just know I’m here and I’m willing to help and I’m going to be here.'”
With the Steelers second week of OTAs now over with, he revealed what his primary emphasis has been so far through six practices and the team’s rookie minicamp.
“It’s just getting your plays down, you know, learning the game and being around the vets and getting comfortable within the scheme and the team and how the team is ran and what’s expected of you,” Bush said.
So what does Bush believe is currently expected of him in his rookie season?
“To come in and make plays, come in and contribute and help the team win in any way I can and give it my best shot,” Bush said. “They obviously know what I can do on the field based off of what I did in college and they’re not asking you to do anything wild, they’re just asking me to come in there and be the player they know I can be.”
While it looks like Bush is being pushed along quite quickly so far this offseason in terms of him potentially being able to contribute quite extensively on defense once his rookie season gets underway, it sounds like he’s handling the entire process extremely well to date and not putting any undue pressure on himself at this point in the process.
“Every day I just go out there and I just treat it as football and have fun with it,” Bush said during his radio interview. “I’m not going to try to overthink my position and what is expected of me. I kind of go in with an open mind and I’m just playing football at the end of the day. I don’t try to add any more pressure than I already have. Just learning, just being there with veterans and just learning from them and picking their brain. So, every day I’m just learning something new.”