As noted in our Chargers game review, Devin Bush was deservedly named the Digest Player of the Week.
Now, it’s the turn of the NFL to recognise his contribution when he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. It’s the first award for a Steeler player this season and the first since Joe Haden in week 15 last year.
Bush sparked the game into life Sunday. He put the Steelers ahead early with his 9-yard fumble recovery he returned for a score. return then interception.
Bush is just the fifth overall Steelers player to accomplish the feat since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. He leads the NFL in fumble recoveries with four and leads the Steelers in tackles (52) that ranks fifth in the NFL while leading rookies.
Those 52 tackles registered over his first six games is the most by a Steelers rookie since at least 1999 (previous high was Kendrell Bell, 27, 2001). Those 52 tackles move him into 10th place for most tackles by a rookie over their first six NFL games since 1999.
What the coaches think of Devin Bush
He is still learning. He still has to learn because there are several different techniques that we are teaching and trying to use. It is kind of running together for him a little bit. Some of it is and some of it is not.
He has a lot of speed. He is going to make plays for us, and he has been doing it for us. He was aware enough, which is the good thing, to pick up that backwards throw. Philip Rivers is running at that thing, you know that thing is live. He got on that and took it to the endzone, so it was a big thing for us.
What has impressed you most about Devin Bush through the first six games?
It’s hard because he impresses me every day with his preparation and just being ready and being in shape physically. All the little things he crosses. He crossed those a long time ago. So, I’m never surprised when he makes a play or when he does something.
The things that surprise me are like the penalties because he’s so intelligent and he knows the game so well that I don’t know why he does that. He’s so well rounded. He’s such a good player, and he takes everything I say and he’s like, “oh yeah, I’ll put that in the work,” and that’s what he does.
He had a small play on a lineman where he knocked the guy down and it’s like, “see, you can do it.” I think when you scout a guy and you say, “wow, I think this guy can be really good,” he’s everything we expected, but the little things that he does, how he keeps the team going and some leadership stuff and bouncing back from an ankle and being on the road and stuff like that.
Those are little things that you don’t usually see out of a rookie. I put it to just his family and stuff like that, how he was brought up. What’s the next step for him in the second half of the season? He’s just going up the next step, and that’s what I told him. I said I’m not surprised that he’s made plays. I don’t subscribe to the idea that somebody could only make a fumble recovery and a touchdown and an interception in one game.
Every series you go out there; you can make a play. It could be a great play. That’s when I get mad because I don’t want to limit him in any way. I never tried to limit Ryan [Shazier]. I’m not going to try and limit Devin [Bush] because they’re great players, and they’re great people. So, who’s to say I can’t make a play every drive I go out there. He makes some mistakes, but you get tired and you’re young and things happen. That’s how football is, and just the fact that you keep coming back after all those plays, is what’s hard to do, but that’s what he’s learning, and he’ll get there.
Does he have an atypical demeanour?
He had that linebacker attitude when he goes and celebrates and he gets the ball. You know, some things like pointing at a guy who’s an excellent receiver, that to me is atypical because I think he should realise that he’s a great player, and he doesn’t need to do things like that because he’s just going to make enough great plays where people are going to be like, “wow, we just need to stay away from this kid.”
I think the thing about him that’s great is you can look at him and he’s a nice kid, he’s polite, and stuff like that, but trust me, underneath all of that there is a nuclear reactor of emotion going on, and that’s what charges him to make those plays. So, he may not be as outspoken as Greg Lloyd or as flamboyant as Kevin Greene or demonstrative as Joey Porter, but it’s in there and it comes out in these little spurts, and that’s what you see, but he expects to do that.
Trust me, he is a linebacker through and through. He just only lets it out once in a while.