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: Up
Reasoning: While he did not play every snap, Devin Bush did play 86 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps, and spent more time on the field than did Joe Schobert, the two evidently splitting the defense-setting responsibilities. More importantly, he played fast and made lots of tackles.
When asked leading up to the game who would wear the green dot on their helmet on defense, head coach Mike Tomlin alluded to the fact that you are permitted to have multiple helmets on the sideline with the green dot, and that he intended to utilize his options.
Necessarily, multiple players must have worn it, since neither Devin Bush nor Joe Schobert played every snap. Bush, in fact, played more snaps, 73 to 66, as the Steelers used a lot of dime defense with only one inside linebacker on the field, though when both were on the field together, I believe it was Schobert with the green dot.
Who is setting the defense the majority of the time, though, is rather immaterial to the fact Devin Bush looked like Devin Bush on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered in October of last year, he showed the sort of sideline-to-sideline speed that made him a top-10 pick in the first place.
He finished the contest with a game-high 10 tackles (tied with Minkah Fitzpatrick), while also producing a forced fumble. There is certainly work to be done in terms of fine tuning to get him back to where he should be, but Sunday’s game was a good start.
At the very least, it showed that Bush is still there athletically. The rest should come as he continues to get his ‘sea legs’ under him, so to speak, through repetition. He has been gradually looking better and better since his tentative preseason debut weeks ago, and Sunday is the best he has looked at any point this offseason.