Throughout much of the Week 1 win in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals, fourth-year Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush showed real signs of improvement compared to what he put on display in the preseason and throughout a disastrous 2021 season.
Safe to say, the young linebacker took a significant step forward, at least on tape as he showed some of that athleticism and conviction against the run, helping the Steelers hold the Cincinnati Bengals to just 3.9 yards per carry in the thrilling 23-20 overtime win.
Though he looked rather solid on tape, Bush recorded just a 49.2 overall grade in Week 1 from Pro Football Focus, with a 68.7 overall grade in run defense, which doesn’t quite match up with what he showed between the lines. Earning some praise locally for his performance, Bush seems to be on an upward trajectory heading into Week 2, which caused some reporters to ask head coach Mike Tomlin about Bush’s performance in Week 1 and if he took a step forward.
“I wouldn’t call it a big step. I’d imagine you guys would, because that was the narrative you guys were singing, but he did what we expected him to do, which is play winning, varsity football,” Tomlin said to reporters Tuesday, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page.
While there still remains plenty of room for improvement from Bush defensively, Sunday’s showing was a very positive one for the young linebacker, getting his 2022 season started off on the right foot in the black and gold.
In 51 defensive snaps Sunday while rotating with Myles Jack and Robert Spillane, Bush recorded five tackles and flashed that sideline to sideline ability once again. He attacked downhill against the run and showed good awareness at times in coverage, though there remains some warts there.
Tomlin might not go as far as calling it a big step, but there’s no denying Bush showed serious signs of improvement Sunday against the Bengals, signs that have to provide the Steelers some real encouragement from the fourth-year linebacker. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come moving forward.