The play of the inside linebacker position must improve dramatically from last season in order for the Pittsburgh Steelers to have a functionally successful defense in 2022. What they got over the course of the last year was simply inadequate, which is why they replaced one of their starters, while crossing their fingers about the other.
After trading for Joe Schobert during training camp last year, the Steelers let him go this offseason following the signing of Myles Jack, whom they obviously believe will be an upgrade.
But equally important, and perhaps more so, is what Devin Bush, their 2019 10th overall draft pick, will look like—and how they look together. The two have been working for the past two days at the outset of OTAs, and he was asked about that yesterday while speaking to reporters at OTAs, audio of the media session coming courtesy of 93.7 The Fan.
“We’re getting better, getting to know each other every day, just working each other, seeing how he sees things, [him] seeing how I see things”, Jack said of his growing relationship with Bush. “When you got your other ‘backer, you’re really collaborating, so what one is doing, the other is, it’s kind of like left-hand, right-hand. We’re building that camaraderie, and I think day by day it’ll get better”.
Bush had a very trying 2021 season after having torn his ACL in the fifth game of the 2020 season. While he was recovered enough to be able to play in the season opener, he never appeared fully comfortable. The Steelers are hoping that more than a year removed from the injury, he will more closely resemble who he was when they drafted him.
Jack described their relationship as mutually beneficial when he was asked if he had taken it upon himself to adopt a mentoring role for the younger linebacker, with both of them able to glean something or other from one another.
“I think that’s the best thing. We can all learn from each other”, he said. “Any questions that I’ve had, he’s answered, because obviously he’s been here, he knows the defense, so he can kind of give me the little tricks and trades. And then any questions that he has for me, I can definitely kind of make it make sense. It’s been smooth”.
It’s also been all of two days. But it’s hard to imagine there being another pair of linebackers in there on opening day. Unless Bush just completely struggles and forces the team’s hand to bench him, at which point we could see somebody like Robert Spillane or Buddy Johnson called upon. But I wouldn’t bet on that.