The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping for a significant bounce back from linebacker Devin Bush this upcoming season, but one former player is far from optimistic. Merril Hoge joined The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan on Friday and ripped Bush’s play to this point in his NFL career, basically stating there is nothing fourth-year linebacker does well, and saying Robert Spillane is better.
“He is who he is,” Hoge said of Bush. “He doesn’t play with great instincts. I don’t care if he’s a first rounder. I don’t care if he’s fast. He’s not a very good football player. He doesn’t play smart. He doesn’t play fast. He doesn’t even play with good leverage and technique when he does. And he hurts you.”
Hoge added that opponents target Bush in the passing game as well, and that he does not foresee improvement there either.
While he has absolutely no faith in Bush to turn things around, Hoge did praise Steelers backup linebacker Robert Spillane, who he believes should have a much larger role.
“Spillane is really their best inside linebacker, period,” Hoge added. “End of story. You watch him play inside. A: he’s athletic. He’s smart. He’s where he’s supposed to be. Takes on people. He makes tackles. He’s not a liability in the passing game. You know, you can’t expose him in the passing game. There’s a whole host of things at he’s better at than Bush that doesn’t jeopardize your team.”
Bush is entering the final year of his rookie contract a full season removed from the torn ACL that cut his 2020 short and likely impacted his 2021 campaign. Pittsburgh declined to pick up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason. He totaled 70 combined tackles, four passes defended, two sacks and two tackles-for-loss in 14 games last season.
Spillane backed up Bush and Joe Schobert last season, and is projected to back up Bush and Myles Jack this year.