Steelers Teammate Defends Devin Bush, Cites ‘Big’ Knee Injury

TJ Watt and Devin Bush

Joe Sargent/Getty Images T.J. Watt #90 and Devin Bush #55 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate a sack against the Denver Broncos on October 10, 2021.

On Monday, October 25,  Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Chris Wormley was asked about the “criticism” of third-year inside linebacker Devin Bush Jr., who by some measures, has produced the weakest numbers of his career.

Wormley completely discounted any criticism of his fellow former Michigan Wolverine, telling the assembled media: “People can say what they want; I think Devin’s been playing well. I think he is doing what he is supposed to do, and it’s less than midway through the season. We have a whole two-thirds of the season left to go, and I’m excited for him to continue to progress.

Wormley went on to say: “We have all the confidence in the world in him, coming off a major knee injury last year,” a reference to the torn ACL that Bush suffered last October during a home game against the Cleveland Browns. “I know I’ve had a few pretty big knee injuries, and it takes a little bit to come back to full strength,” he added.

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Bush’s 2020 & 2021 Compared

As for the numbers, Bush has started five games this season, the same amount he started last year before he suffered his season-ending injury. In many ways the measurables are very similar. This year Bush has produced 25 total tackles, two sacks, four quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while playing 78% of the defensive snaps, as per Pro Football Reference. That’s not unlike last year, when he had 26 total tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits and three passes defensed while playing 90% of the snaps.

There is some significant divergence in terms of the pass coverage numbers, however. In 2020, he allowed 14 completions on 22 targets (63.6%) for 151 yards and one touchdown. This season he is allowing a much higher completion percentage (86.7%), even if those completions (13 of 15) have been somewhat less impactful (98 total yards and one touchdown).

For what it’s worth, this season Bush is on pace for the lowest Pro Football Focus (PFF) rating of his career (54.0), this as compared to the 59.7 overall grade he received last year and the 62.9 grade he received as a rookie. If you believe PFF, Bush is thriving in terms of pass rushing (82.8) and is doing well enough in coverage (63.1), but his run defense grade has been abysmal, a mere 37.6.


Bush’s Summer ’21 Tweetstorm

One might argue that any extra criticism can be attributed to fans being less patient with Bush in the wake of his disconcerting summer tweetstorm, which kicked off with him decrying users of the social media platform TikTok. He went to share a disturbing cat video on Twitter, then chastised Steelers fans for getting him “in trouble” for his many unsettling tweets, while also questioning if they are “real fans.”

Ultimately, Steelers captain Cameron Heyward had to message his young teammate, saying, “Calm your ass down.”

“He can be a knucklehead at times,” said Heyward about Bush during training camp, telling the media that it’s part of his job to help Bush mature as rapidly as possible.

Ultimately, though, the Steelers mainly want to see Bush perform at a level befitting his draft status, as the team moved up ten places in the first round in 2019 to select him No. 10 overall.

Meanwhile, the Steelers are relying heavily on linebacker Joe Schobert (acquired in a trade with Jacksonville in August 2021) to provide quality pass coverage, with fellow inside linebacker Robert Spillane better known for his run defense.


VideoVideo related to steelers teammate defends devin bush, cites ‘big’ knee injury2021-10-26T00:30:58-04:00

Jaguars Try Out Kameron Canaday

In other news, former Steelers long snapper Kameron Canaday was one of three long snappers to try out for the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, as per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson.

Canaday served as Pittsburgh’s long snapper between 2017-20 but was on the losing end of a “down to the wire” training camp/preseason battle with Christian Kuntz this summer. He was released by the Steelers on August 30, 2021. In the weeks since, Canaday has been looking for a new NFL job and has had workouts with multiple teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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