Through the first two games of the 2020 season, Pittsburgh Steelers second-year linebacker Devin Bush has compiled 14 tackles with two passes defensed. Those are not the most eye-popping numbers in the world, but they’re also nothing to sneeze at.
Statistical data is not the only thing you look at to evaluate play, but one thing to consider as far as his numbers go is the fact that he is adjusting to a new role this year. For the 2020 season, the Steelers have given him the responsibility of wearing the green dot, the helmet that receives the play calls from the sidelines and is responsible for relaying the play and setting the defense.
“I’m right in the middle of it. You could say I’m the hub of communication”, he told Rich Eisen yesterday. “I have to communicate with 10 other guys about what we plan and what to expect, and we’ve all got to be on the same page, so that’s a big part of my job, just making sure everybody’s on the same page”.
Anybody who’s been paying close attention this year to the Steelers’ games so far may have noticed that he does have that green sticker on the back of his helmet. They wanted to give it to him right away last year, but it took him time to get comfortable.
Now, they feel like he’s ready to grow into the role, but it will always take a certain adjustment period to be the one to set the defense while still playing at a high rate of speed and with instinct. Everyone who takes that on has to adjust, and Bush will as well.
The important thing is that he gets his primary task right, which is setting the defense. As valuable as his individual play is, there is nothing more important than the defense all being on the same page, even if it means one player is slowed down because of his responsibilities, which he tried to go into.
“First, we get the personnel, meaning it depends on who is on the field, which players the offense puts on the field. We got from there, then we go through our play-calling. We pick a play, I echo the play coming from the sideline, the other 10 echo the play”, he said.
“If you have any checks, if you see anything that we want to get done, I’m one of the first people to say it or make a check. And I’ve got other guys helping me out with checks and making sure we’re all on the same page”.
Currently, there are only five players who have recorded more tackles so far this season, not including the teams that played last night. There is also only one non-defensive back with more passes defensed. Still, you anticipate that splash plays are coming, including tackles for loss. Bush had nine last season. That should be the baseline for a player with his speed and instincts.