Steelers Expecting Devin Bush to Make Year Two Leap
PITTSBURGH -- Devin Bush said earlier this offseason that if he and Vince Williams needed to play every defensive snap this season that he will. When asked if that's a reasonable expectation, Williams said, "absolutely."
While it's unlikely Bush and Williams don't take a rest snap in 2020, they will be the two primary inside linebackers for the Steelers. Williams is heading into his eighth NFL season. Bush is heading into his second, and looking to make a significant jump as he enters veteran territory.
"Of course, you want [Bush] to make a good jump for us," Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler told media last week. "I think he will because things won't be new to him. He's done it before, and when he comes to training camp, we are going to expect more out of him. We are going to want him to help make calls and get the communication down. We think he's capable of doing that. We think he's really going to come alive for us a little bit this year. He played well for us last year as a rookie, but once you've been there—he's seen the game a little bit. He knows the speed of the game. He knows what we are going to call for the most part. He's got an idea of what we are going to expect of him. We're hopeful that he's going to be able to have a good year for us this year."
Those expectations seem to be transitioning well. Bush has been as Heinz Field working with his team for almost two weeks now and has shown the progress he's made.
"Devin is making tremendous strides," Williams said in a Zoom call. "Just in the small detail like things. For example, he has a nice little system that he is working with. He comes in the building at a consistent time every day. Those are things that you don't really see from a young guy that doesn't really have a formula for success. But I am starting to see that he is starting to develop that, and I think he is going to get better with it."
The Steelers decided to release Mark Barron earlier this offseason, leaving Willians and Bush as the two starting backs. Barron played 69% of the team's defensive snaps in 2019, leaving a lot of reps to be accounted for in his absence.
Bush played 889 snaps last season and has made it clear he's ready to play more. It's going to take an adjustment to be one of two linebackers the team can count on, though. A change Williams is ready to help guide his teammate through.
"Just lead by example," Williams said. "I tell Devin [Bush] all the time that middle linebackers are vocal communicators in the middle of the field. The more you make calls, the more comfortable you get with it, the more people get confidence in you making those calls. He is just taking it in stride, watching me, seeing how I do things and learning."