The quarterback competition may be the most talked about position battle surrounding the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers, but the situation at inside linebacker is also a “hot-button topic,” as NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms described it during a ‘Buy or Sell’ segment on Thursday August 18.
“Devin Bush I’m worried about,” said Simms, speaking about the former No. 10 overall pick, who was drafted in 2019 out of the University of Michigan. “Did not look comfortable the other night (in the preseason opener vs. the Seattle Seahawks). Did not make many plays. Was not around the ball a whole lot. And I think the writing is on the wall to a degree,” he added, referring to the team’s depth chart, which has Bush OR Robert Spillane the starter at left inside linebacker. Of course, the latter is a try-hard inside linebacker who has demonstrated the ability to defend the run but can easily be exploited in the passing game.
“Devin Bush has certainly lost a little explosiveness ever since the knee (torn ACL injury), and because of that doesn’t seem to (be) quite as physical. Or sticking his head in there quite as much as he used to and being the ball hawk that I thought he would be or that he looked like during his rookie year,” said Simms, referring to the 2019 season, when Bush contributed 109 tackles (72 solo), including nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble, four fumble recoveries and a sack, as per Pro Football Reference.
Simms believes that Bush is” going to be on the team. We know that,” he said, though Bush’s spot doesn’t seem guaranteed, not after his dispiriting media scrum on August 16, when he was asked if this is a “make-or-break year” for him and he came back with: “Like as a Steelers? I mean, it’s a business. I’ll still be in the NFL, so we’ll see.”
Chris Simms: Myles Jack is ‘Going to Be a Difference Maker’
On the plus side, Chris Simms really seems to like the addition of Myles Jack, who was signed in free agency in mid-March to replace Joe Schobert.
“Myles Jack is spot-on. First off, I think that’s one of the steals of the off-season, that they got Myles Jack. I don’t know what the deal was with him in Jacksonville. I know there’s a slight knee issue maybe people are concerned about, but for what they are paying him? Wow,” he added, referring to how the Steelers signed the former Jaguars second-round pick (No. 36 overall in 2016) to a two-year deal worth a total of $16 million, according to overthecap.com.
“I think he is in that upper tier of linebackers for me. I think he is going to be a difference maker and he is made for Pittsburgh Steeler football in the middle there,” concluded Simms.
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Nate Gilliam, Chris Owens Find New Jobs
Meanwhile, both of the offensive linemen the Steelers waived on August 16 have signed with new teams.
The Cincinnati Bengals have snapped up interior offensive lineman Nate Gilliam and the New York Giants have inked former Alabama center Chris Owens, the latter an undrafted free agent who was signed by the Steelers in May.
Steelers Release Ulysees Gilbert With Injury Settlement
Also, on Friday the Steelers released linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III from injured reserve with an injury settlement, as per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.
In addition, running back Master Teague reverted to the injured reserve list after having been waived injured earlier this week. The former Ohio State standout had been signed to replace Jeremey McNichols on August 3, 2022.
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