The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Devin Bush has been somewhat underwhelming through the first three games of his second season.
Explanation: The Steelers traded up in last year’s draft to get Devin Bush because they saw him as a difference-maker. He made a bunch of splash plays in the turnover department as a rookie, but his impact so far this year has been less overt.
While it was nice that he was able to break up a would-be touchdown pass against the Texans yesterday, it doesn’t make up for the fact that he was in position to give it up in the first place, a week after allowing Noah Fant to win against him first for an explosive-play touchdown and then for the two-point conversion. The defense didn’t put him in great position on the touchdown, but even with that considered, he trailed by a good amount.
Vince Williams is something of a part-time player and he has eight tackles for loss on the season already. Bush has one so far, and that might even be taken away from him, because that was his half-sack that may be changed to be credited to T.J. Watt later in the week.
It’s understandable that he is adjusting to being the mouthpiece of the defense, but he really hasn’t offered up any signature plays. He’s not even leading the team in tackles, as Mike Hilton is now after Bush finished with just four tackles yesterday.
While it’s true that Bush is still finding himself a bit just 19 games into his career, and that a player at his position is generally judged by how many plays he’s able to make, that doesn’t tell the full story. For one thing, the defensive front has shut down the run before he could even make plays. Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, for example, have made a number of plays in the backfield.
It’s harder to have an impact when you’re dropping more into coverage, but he has been getting closer to the ball each week, and made some good plays in that area yesterday. Yes, his rookie season was splashier, so far, but that doesn’t mean he’s lagging behind where he should be.