The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Devin Bush has been a disappointment in his third season.
Explanation: The former top-10 draft pick returned this year from a torn ACL that he suffered in October. He hasn’t really looked any worse for the wear specifically because of that injury, but he has had his struggles on the field.
Bush is only averaging five tackles per game. He has been used more as a blitzer and has had some numbers because of it, and because of well-schemed blitzes, which have had less to do with his own individual excellence on those plays. He does have a forced fumble on the year.
But statistics don’t tell the real story. The third quarter of last week’s game shows the truth, or at least the worst parts of it. irrespective of the state of his knee, Bush has issues in his game that have existed all along and haven’t gotten better.
His diagnostic abilities certainly haven’t improved since he’s gotten into the league, and in fact, perhaps they’ve even gotten a little worse since his rookie season. It’s been too often that he’s run to the wrong gap, bitten on some window dressing that he shouldn’t have, or otherwise taken him out of a play he himself should have been making.
I don’t know how much we should expect from somebody who is hardly a year removed from a torn ACL, especially one playing such a physically and mentally demanding position, nor should we presume to know what kind of impact that could have on his performance. Disappointment has to be measured against expectations, and I think most agree they weren’t expecting him to be an All-Pro this year.
But he hasn’t actually played badly as a whole this year, by any means. Almost the entire defense was made to look foolish in much of the second half of last week’s game, but as Keith Butler said, it wasn’t exactly that dadgum linebackers’ fault. At the end of the day, he is about where he should be expected to be, with an upward-pointing arrow. Let’s not forget he’s also dealt with a groin injury on top of everything else.