This won’t – or shouldn’t – come as a surprise. Coming off a successful rookie season, we knew Devin Bush was expected to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ full-time linebacker as he entered year two. He’s full speed ahead in 2020.
As evident by our snap count log, Bush played every single snap Monday against the Giants. All 68 of them. No longer is he removed in dime packages. He’s the every-down, every-situation player. The training wheels were on in 2019. Now, Bush is pedaling on his own.
Being the every down linebacker comes with being the every down communicator. Last season, Bush didn’t wear the green dot. That task was passed around the defense, usually held by Mark Barron, but Mike Tomlin described him as a “mute” and the team recently admitted communication could’ve been better. So it’s no surprise that against the Giants, Bush was spotted wearing the green dot. The central hub of communication, the man receiving the calls from coaches and disseminating it to teammates. Overall, communication was very good last Monday.
Above all else, Bush continues to play well. He’s got a great football IQ and ability to learn from mistakes. It’s not often he screws up the same thing twice. He’s showing more patience, a better feel for run schemes, and isn’t over pursuing plays and getting out of his gap like he did early last season. His coverage has improved too, more comfortable in man coverage, though the Giants didn’t test him much. Our charting has him down for QBs going 2/4 for 11 yards against him in the opener. He finished second on the team with seven tackles, five of them solo stops.
Everything Bush has done since the Steelers traded up for him has justified the move. Pittsburgh was careful with him, not throwing everything on his plate as a rookie, while still playing him a healthy amount of snaps to prepare for 2020. Bush has answered the call every step of the way and finds himself in the middle of one of football’s best defenses.