Updated: Jun 22
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Devin Bush was in the news this weekend, as former Steelers running back Merril Hoge buried him on 93.7 The Fan for saying that he has nothing to prove since he's a former first-rounder and a top-10 pick. Hoge went as far as saying that Bush "won't get better" and that the Steelers "can't win with guys like him."
"You gotta cut bait there," Hoge said. "Doesn't play smart or fast. Doesn't play with good technique. Doesn't play with good instincts. He gets targeted by teams in the passing game. Not a good football player."
Hoge's takes are pretty much in line with the fan base, as Bush got a lot of flak on social media for his poor play last season. It was deserving, however, as Bush was awful in run defense and was a liability in pass coverage. Effort was also an issue at times.
At the same time, Bush's tumultuous season in 2021 could be attributed to the fact he was coming off an ACL injury. He was very hesitant at times and wasn't playing with confidence.
“I get the chance to play football again how I want to, for real,” Bush said on Wednesday at OTAs via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I get the chance to go out there and be myself. I feel like I’m starting a whole new slate, and I feel pretty good about it.
“I wasn’t happy with my play. I wasn’t happy with losing. I went through some things personally. It was a learning process for me.”
Bush is hoping to get back to his 2019 ways in 2022.
“Before I got hurt, I feel like I was doing good,” Bush said. “I think I was on the way to being an All-Pro and Pro Bowler, but things happen, you go through some things. I learned a lot along the way. It was supposed to happen to me. I’m grateful for it, that I get to go out there and play again.”
So, can Steelers' new senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores help turn Devin Bush's career around? Flores is an understudy of Bill Belichick and was the Dolphins' head coach from 2019-2021. Despite leading the Dolphins to their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2002-2003, Flores was fired in January.
If it wasn't for his class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams for racial discrimination, Flores would be without a doubt a head coach in the NFL right now. To say that Flores is grossly overqualified for his current position with the Steelers is an understatement. It's great for the Steelers to have his expertise, however.
Steelers defensive players have raved about Flores' impact at OTAs.
"He’s a bulldog. Just the way he talks, you can tell that he’s got the military mentality," Terrell Edmunds said. "He wants everything to be on point. He’s not letting anybody slack off. We need that."
“He’s very detailed, clear cut. There’s no grey area with him," Myles Jack said. "I think that’s great. In this offseason, we’ve been able to fine-tune a bunch of things. We know what’s right and what’s not right.”
Flores actually played a big role in Jack signing with the Steelers.
"He's a great coach," Jack said in March. "I saw what he did last year in Miami, how he turned that whole thing around. I think it was amazing what he did. After I told Coach Tomlin we were definitely going to make this thing happen, I actually got a chance to talk with Coach Flores, and we both kind of came to the agreement that we both have something to prove. Him feeling his way in his situation and myself feeling like, getting released, I feel like I got a second chance at life. I'm just super excited."
No player should be more thrilled with the addition of Flores than Bush. His career with the Steelers could depend on it since the team denied his fifth-year option.
"I think he's a big, big addition to the Steelers," Bush said. "Having him in the room is outstanding. He's a guy that is real football-minded. He loves the game. You can ask him any type of question, have any type of discussion with him. Talk about football or life, honestly."