2021 Offseason Questions: Can Devin Bush Direct Traffic On Defense?

Steelers vs. Ravens

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: Can Devin Bush be the vocal leader and field marshal of the defense?

One of the aspects of Vince Williams’ game that he never got enough credit for was his ability to direct traffic before the snap, and do it with authority. A player with a true dedication to the game and the knowledge that comes with it, he knew how to read an offense, and he knew how to get guys in the right place. That’s a skill that’s important whether you have the green dot or not.

This year, the linebacker group will be led by Devin Bush and Robert Spillane. Bush had the green dot last year up until his injury, a torn ACL that knocked him out for the rest of the season back in Week 6. The Steelers had been working on his vocal presence since rookie minicamp in 2019.

But is that his game? We don’t have an extensive amount of tape on that subject. Can he command the defense at a high level, with the requisite confidence in himself and respect from his teammates, to have that trust?

Bush has played 21 games, recording 135 tackles with two sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble since entering the league. The Steelers didn’t deem him ready to wear the green dot as a rookie. He did have it last season for the first four and a half games before his injury, but there are still questions to be answered, especially now that he won’t have Williams next to him.

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