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Devin Bush’s Stellar Play Only Increases Expectations

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One of the toughest things for any athlete to do is live up to an immense amount of hype. But Devin Bush is doing everything possible to do just that.

First, Bush reignited a flame of excitement into Steelers fans following an offseason of drama, when Pittsburgh traded up to draft the star linebacker out of Michigan. He then wowed both fans and media with his immediate ability to learn the playbook and take charge of the defense at the team’s rookie minicamp. This then carried over to training camp, as he showed no fear in acting as a the quarterback of the defense, even amongst veterans. However, none of that would matter if it didn’t translate into success during games.

Bush’s first game experience in the NFL proved to be yet another example of why many believe he will be the next “face” of the Steelers franchise. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft played the entire first half, finishing the night with 10 total tackles, seven of which were solo, and a near interception. As impressive as his stat line was, it wasn’t even the best part of Bush’s preseason debut. The fact that Bush called the plays, especially as part of a two-minute drill to end the half, is what really stood out.

For maybe the best evaluation of his preseason debut, Devin Bush himself spoke about how he felt in his first NFL game action and what he still needs to work on.

While there’s tons of pressure already on Bush, not only to adequately replace Ryan Shazier, but to be a perennial Pro-Bowl linebacker, who can serve as a Ray Lewis type in Pittsburgh for the next decade plus, the expectations are only going to increase thanks to performances like Friday night.

Steelers

Steelers Promote QB Coach Matt Canada to Offensive Coordinator

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially promoted quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, the organization announced Monday.

After the Steelers chose not to renew the contract of previous offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, multiple outlets reported on Jan. 16 that the team was planning to hire from within and promote Canada.

The club reportedly also interviewed former Cleveland Browns head coach Hugh Jackson and Los Angeles Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, which proved to be mere formalities.

Canada, 48, was also reportedly a candidate for the offensive coordinator opening with the Miami Dolphins, which was filled last week.

Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh ahead of last season, Canada was most recently the offensive coordinator and interim head coach at Maryland in 2018.

He has also made stops as an offensive coordinator at LSU, Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Indiana and Butler.

Canada is most known for his success at Pitt in 2016, where he orchestrated the nation’s tenth-ranked scoring offense averaging 42 points per game. He was recognized as a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant, that season.

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Steelers

Steelers Hire Alfredo Roberts as Tight Ends Coach

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired Alfredo Roberts as their next tight ends coach, the team announced Monday.

A 22-year coaching veteran, Roberts most recently spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, serving as their tight ends coach this past season and the running back coach the three prior. He has also made previous stops in Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Jacksonville over his career.

Roberts has coached a number of standout tight ends throughout his career, including Mercedes Lewis as a rookie with the Jaguars, and Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener with the Colts.

Roberts fills the vacancy left by previous tight ends coach James Daniel, who announced his retirement on Jan. 14.

The Steelers tight end room will look different in 2021, as veteran Vance McDonald announced his own retirement from football over the weekend. Pittsburgh is expected to return Eric Ebron, who caught 63 passes for 620 yards and six touchdowns this past season, including playoffs.

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Roberts played his collegiate ball at the University of Miami, before being selected in the eight round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He won a pair of National Championships with the Hurricanes, and two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

Roberts caught 50 passes for 476 and two touchdowns over 82 career games.

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Steelers Connections Abound in Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl

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While the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their Super Bowl LV hopes dashed two weeks ago, fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet on Feb. 7.

Six players with Steelers ties are expected to take the field in either red or pewter on Super Bowl Sunday, with the two most notable examples being Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell.

Both missed their respective championship games due to injury, but could return to health in time for the Super Bowl with two weeks to recover.

In addition, the Chiefs also boast guard Stefen Wisniewski and punter Dustin Colquitt, who both spent time in Pittsburgh earlier this season.

Wisniewski is in line to make his second-straight Super Bowl start in response to injuries along the Chiefs’ offensive line suffered Sunday, while Colquitt is on Kansas City’s practice squad.

Former Steelers defensive back Ross Cockrell and nose tackle Steve McLendon will take the field for the Buccaneers defensively.

But Tampa Bay’s Pittsburgh connections do not stop on the field, as the Buccaneers will also have six coaches with Steeler ties on the sideline for the big game, including head coach Bruce Arians.

Arians, who is in his second season in Tampa, spent eight years in Pittsburgh, serving as wide receivers coach (2004-06) before being elevated to offensive coordinator (2007-11).

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played under Arians in Pittsburgh, and had three separate stints with the Steelers as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger.

Tampa Bay also boasts assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, outside linebackers coach Larry Foote, offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El and assistant coach Tom Moore.

Even with the Steelers at home watching along with the rest of the country, Pittsburgh should have no shortage of rooting interests when the Chiefs meet the Buccaneers in Tampa in two weeks time.

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