Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: ILB Devin Bush
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: The third-year inside linebacker did not look comfortable after missing a game due to a groin injury, putting together a low-impact performance that showed a player who is thinking instead of reacting.
While not perfect, Devin Bush put in a good game during the regular-season opener, including 10 tackles. There were some inconsistencies, but he played the sort of instinctual, sideline-to-sideline football that the Steelers traded up to get two years ago.
That wasn’t the same player who was on the field this past Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, returning after missing one game to a groin injury that he suffered late in the prior week of practice. I would guess that he’s still working his way back to 100 percent.
We are coming close to a year now since Bush tore his ACL last season. The fact that he was able to be a full go from the first snap of the regular season in and of itself is commendable, but he looks like he still has some playing to go before he starts to really feel comfortable and back where he was before.
The latest, minor groin injury didn’t help matters, but the reality is that Sunday’s game also displayed some of the issues he has been carrying all along. He still has a lot to learn about taking on blockers, especially given that he or Joe Schobert could function as the ‘buck’ at any given play.
With that said, I will not say that I’m concerned about Bush and where he’s heading, as long as he can get and stay healthy. What I’m seeing is just a guy who needs to play more. He did make some impactful plays, including plays on which he didn’t register a statistic but for which he was responsible for causing.
We’ll see how he looks next week, because it will be a big challenge against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.