Throughout the season following each game I will be taking a look at the rookies and how they fared each week. This will consist of thoughts such as the positive and negatives from that game, areas to watch or work on and clips to support what I’m sharing. Hopefully, this will shed some insight on some things you may or may not have seen.
Regular Season Week 4
Devin Bush/ILB – Easily his best game of the season so far and it was evident from the first play. You could see there was much less thinking going on and instead just reacting to the play. He did a much better job attacking the line of scrimmage and avoiding blocks. He made two tackles behind the LOS on screen plays showing good mental processing and agility to avoid blockers. He recorded his first sack of the season accelerating through a big hole to take down the QB. He also looked better in coverage whether he was playing Man coverage or in Zone. He didn’t look confused like he had in earlier games and recorded his first pass breakup.
Here he is matched up with TE Tyler Eifert (85) who tries to use his body to box out the smaller defender but Bush shows good body control to reach around the big tight end to break up the pass.
Here Bush is sugaring the A gap pre snap but doesn’t rush. He reads the screen to the RB and ducks under two offensive linemen to make the tackle for a loss.
Diontae Johnson/WR – It was another good game for Johnson leading the wide receivers in receptions and yards while recording his second touchdown of the season. It was nice to see the coaching staff getting him more involved by adding the fly motion touch pass which garnered solid gains and allowed him to display his change of direction to cut back inside on the second opportunity. He did fumble his first reception and got some coaching from Juju Smith-Schuster on the sideline to cover up the ball when diving forward because the defenders will try to punch it out in that scenario. Lesson learned.
Justin Layne/CB – Did not Play
Benny Snell Jr./RB – Snell once again operated as the number three running back as well as playing on special teams. He got a couple of carries but could only gain one yard. His first attempt there was a free defender that hit him two yards in the backfield. He received one target on a check release that was overthrown. He had some nice blocks on punt return as well limiting the release of the player he was blocking.
Zach Gentry/TE – With Vance McDonald out Gentry was given his largest amount of playing time on offense so far this year participating in 25 plays. He was often used in 12 and 13 personnel as well as being the TE on the Wildcat formations. Overall, as a blocker he was up and down but did have a few blocks that were timely to help the offense. He did miss a blocking opportunity on Snell’s first short yardage carry. He didn’t take the most dangerous defender and that led to Snell being hit in the backfield. He held his own vs the Bengals defensive ends and was solid on the second level and outside. He is still playing too high but was not shy about being physical in his role.
Here he’s lined up as the wing on the far side and is one on one with Sam Hubbard (94). It’s kind of hard to see but he drives Hubbard back and gets him on the ground.
On the Jaylen Samuels touchdown run, he is the wing on the right side. He seals the safety Shawn Williams (36) to the inside opening a big lane allowing Samuels to waltz in the end zone.
Ulysses Gilbert III/ILB – Gilbert received his usual work on special teams but didn’t show up that often on the game film. He did have a nice tackle on the kickoff after the Steelers first touchdown cutting down the runner near the sideline.
Devlin Hodges/QB – Did not play
Inactive for Week 4 – Isaiah Buggs/DL, Fred Johnson/OG
Practice Squad – Derwin Gray/OG, Alize Mack/TE, Alexander Myres/DB