The Pittsburgh Steelers were so convinced about the future success of Devin Bush that they made a big move to trade up in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft to grab the inside linebacker out of Michigan. He had an immediate impact with over 100 tackles as a rookie, recording six takeaways, including two interceptions.
So far, he has not been putting up the huge numbers. He has 21 tackles on the season, which would put him on pace for just 84 on the year. None of his tackles have been for a loss. He was credited with half a sack. He does, however, have three passes defensed, including one in the end zone that saved a touchdown.
This is an area in which Bush feels as though he has been able to evolve his game from year one to year two, working in pass coverage, I would imagine particularly in terms of playing within a zone defense. While he was docked for a touchdown in week two against Noah Fant, the team widely came to his defense in noting that they put him in a nearly impossible position.
“In terms of pass coverage, I feel like my pass coverage has improved drastically from last year”, Bush told reporters earlier today. “There are still some things that I have to work on, but as a whole, I think I’m in a good spot.
Pro Football Reference credits Bush with allowing 14 receptions so far this season on 20 targets for 151 yards and allowing one touchdown. The average depth of target in coverage that he is facing is substantially deeper than last season, however, jumping from 3.9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage to 7.2
Pro Football Focus has him allowing 12 receptions on 20 targets, so there are obvious disputes when it comes to determining to whom to assign coverage responsibility on a given play. He is charged by them for allowing 103 yards in coverage, including 47 yards after the catch.
The Steelers’ pass coverage still needs work as a whole. Even though they have played one fewer game than most teams, their 950 yards allowed still ranks only 15th, and they rank 21st in passing touchdowns allowed. In spite of this, thanks to their pass rush, their net yards per pass attempt allowed of 5.8 ranks fifth.