Throughout the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason practices we’ve heard quarterback Ben Roethlisberger speak a few times to the media and mostly about the team’s current culture, offense and new players. However, during a Thursday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Roethlisberger was asked by former Steelers quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to talk a little about what he’s seen out of the team’s defense through the offseason practices that are now concluded.
“As you know, it’s always difficult to judge defense because there are no pads, right, you’re a little limited in what you can do in terms of physicality,” Roethlisberger told Gradkowski. “But I will say this, I feel like our defense is fast, I feel like they’re flying around. I feel like they’re always a lot of guys around the ball, I feel like there’s a lot of pursuit. And that has been one thing that has really kind of stuck out to me so far through OTAs, and especially minicamp, is just how fast the defense is flying around.”
Well, that’s certainly great to hear and you would certainly expect Roethlisberger to highlight the quickness of the team’s defense while wearing shorts as they added inside linebacker Devin Bush via the draft after trading up to the No. 10 spot to do so. Bush’s quickness, agility and overall speed should’ve been quite noticeable to Roethlisberger whenever the Michigan product was with the first-team defense in practices.
“The two things I can’t teach them are being aggressive, and the other is speed,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said on Wednesday, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He’s got natural speed in terms of hitting, that’s something his mother and daddy gave him, so I’ll be interested to see what kind of hitter he is.”
One veteran Steelers inside linebacker who figures to play alongside Bush quite a bit during his 2019 rookie season is Vince Williams and he gushed over his new position counterpart this week as well.
“Devin (Bush) is phenomenal. I feel like he is going to make plays right away,” Williams said, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com.
Six weeks from now the Steelers will report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for the start of training camp and we’re sure to hear from Roethlisberger a few more times during that span of three weeks. After the team practices in pads a few times, Roethlisberger should once again have a great feel for just how fast the team’s defense is in pads as opposed to in shorts. I’m betting he’ll still think that unit is fast with the pads on.