It’s what he’s done and what he hasn’t, and what’s being said to him and what isn’t, that’s helping to define Devin Bush in his rookie season with the Steelers.
The 10 tackles in two quarters (seven solo) jumped off the stat sheet from the preseason opener against Tampa Bay.
But before the Steelers vacated Saint Vincent College, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pointed out that he noticed Bush hadn’t been getting “hollered at” by defensive coaches during practices in Latrobe.
Turns out there was a reason for that.
“He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes mentally,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said this week. “Sometimes he makes mistakes in terms of alignment, as a young guy will do. And he’s going to make mistakes as a young guy. What he does a good job of is, he doesn’t repeat them. He doesn’t repeat the mistakes.
“As long as he does that he’s going to get better.”
Teammates have noticed not just how Bush is being treated by the coaches, but also the No. 10 overall draft pick’s approach.
He’s demonstrated not just athleticism, but a willingness to absorb all he can from the veterans.
Two of those, in particular, have been enthusiastic mentors.
“He has two of the best teachers you could have in (inside linebacker) Vince (Williams) and Ryan (Shazier),” defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. “Ryan, that’s an unsung hero when it comes to explaining football.
“They’re so dedicated in their approach to making sure he’s going to be in the right places because they see how much he can help us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Ryan go up to Devin, ‘Hey, this is what we do,’ or, ‘Hey, this is what you have to look out for.’
“To Devin’s credit, he takes great notes and he takes good corrections. Sometimes, as a rookie it can almost be overwhelming but at this time I haven’t seen it. I’ve seen Devin just appreciate those moments and adapt from those corrections.”
Bush wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a blessing, honestly,” he said.
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt’s observation of Bush back in minicamp was that he walked with “a presence and a purpose.”
Heyward described a demeanor you’d expect from a professional.
“He understands the seriousness of this game,” Heyward said. “He understands it’s not just a hobby, this is your job.”
Added Butler: “He sounds like the son of a former player, a son who has watched his daddy play a little bit.
“He comes from a football family.”
Butler has often referenced Devin Bush Sr. playing safety for the Browns in 2001-02, when Butler was the linebackers coach in Cleveland.
This week he also recalled the elder Bush serving as a coaching intern with the Steelers at training camp “about three or four years ago,” Butler maintained.
He chuckled at the recollection.
“Mike (Tomlin) knew what was coming.”
The Steelers prepare for the preseason Week 3 matchup against the Tennessee Titans