If the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense is going to truly get back to its high-end run stopping ways in 2022, fourth-year linebacker Devin Bush is going to have to rebound in a big way.
The 2021 season was rather disastrous for the former No. 10 overall pick, as he returned from a torn ACL suffered in 2020 and never quite found his footing again. Bush looked rather timid and hesitant overall, which led to some very poor reps against the run, leading to him being subbed in and out late in the season.
Now, with a full offseason of health ahead of him, Bush will have no excuses in 2022, especially after the Steelers declined his fifth-year option, making the 2022 season a make-or-break one with the black and gold.
Knowing that, Bush is the Steelers’ X-factor for the 2022 season, according to Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport.
“The Steelers signed Myles Jack in the offseason in an effort to strengthen their linebackers corps, but a rebound year from Bush would be huge for them,” Davenport writes. “Given their uncertainty at quarterback, they’re likely going to have to lean on their defense.”
A bounce-back season by Bush would be massive for the Steelers’ defense, especially with Jack in the fold next to him. Another handful of months removed from the ACL injury and subsequent surgery should help Bush on the field, knowing that he can do everything he once did without injuring himself again.
That is something Bush is really looking forward to, especially coming off of a tough season overall in 2021 that raised a ton of concerns from not only the Steelers’ perspective, but the fanbase and local media as well.
“I get the chance to play football again how I want to, for real,” Bush said to reporters, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “I get the chance to go out there and be myself. I feel like I’m starting a whole new slate, and I feel pretty good about it.”
There’s reason to be a bit optimistic about Bush heading into his fourth year overall, considering his offseason of health, and the work he’s put in to date this offseason. With his back against the wall contractually, and a significant upgrade next to him in Jack, all eyes are on Bush to perform.
If he can get back to his rookie season level of play, look out for the Steelers’ defense.