The last time Pittsburgh Steelers’ inside linebacker Devin Bush faced off against the Cleveland Browns, the third-year linebacker was leaving the feel under the help of some trainers after tearing his ACL, knocking him out of the Week 6 contest in 2020, causing him to miss the rest of the season as well.
Knowing that, there’s some extra added motivation and some anticipation for Bush, who is now a full year recovered from the injury and is trying to find some consistency in his game once again.
With Bush back in the fold against the Browns’ physical offense, the Steelers should be able to remain in base defense a bit more than usual, thanks to the athleticism and coverage abilities of Bush and Joe Schobert inside, meaning that the Steelers would feel comfortable with Schobert or Bush needing to handle some coverage duties out of the slot or on on tight ends while still being able to defend the run.
The Browns’ offense hasn’t changed much — if at all — since the last time Bush suited up against the AFC North foe. Knowing that, there’s a level of comfort for the third-year linebacker, knowing he can handle whatever is thrown at him Sunday afternoon inside FirstEnergy Stadium on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland.
“Oh yeah. I think we are just well prepared,” Bush said during his media availability Thursday, according to audio provided by the team. “We play them twice a year. We play them every year. So I mean, we obviously are comfortable…with how they call their plays in their system and everything. So, I mean, it’s just going out there and competing.”
I don’t know if we should take Bush’s thoughts here at face value, considering he made it through two and a half quarters against the new-look Browns under head coach Kevin Stefanski, who took over in 2020. I’m sure there’s some comfort in the personnel, per se, from Bush, but it’s not like he played all three games last year against Cleveland and knows what the Browns like to do and try to do.
The same goes for Schobert, if we’re being fair.
That said, the coaching staff and plenty of veterans on the defense are familiar with the Browns’ offense and overall style, which should have the Steelers feeling comfortable and prepared heading into Sunday’s pivotal AFC North matchup between the 4-3 Browns and the 3-3 Steelers, determining and outcome that will be large in the AFC North and AFC playoff races down the stretch.