Bush Entering Patriots Game with Confidence, Not Nerves

Steelers rookie linebacker focused on preparation this week

Josh Rowntree
September 05, 2019 - 4:00 pm

Starter or not, Devin Bush is going to see plenty of Tom Brady Sunday night. 

The Steelers’ rookie linebacker, who will make his NFL debut this weekend when Pittsburgh travels to New England to battle Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions, is planning on carrying in a calm confidence. 

“It’s going to be fun,” Bush said Wednesday. “It’ll definitely be an experience. I can’t wait to go out there and play against the Patriots. I’m excited. 

“I feel like I’m up to speed. This week is big for me, getting out there and practicing the game plan, getting comfortable with the game plan.”

Bush is listed as the second string inside linebacker, behind starters Vince Williams and Mark Barron. That does not, in any way, mean that Bush will not be a regular participant in the game. How much, however, is still to be determined.

“Whatever coach allows me to do, whether that’s coming in here and there or playing (a lot), it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“It’s going to be a test for me, as well as everybody on this team, especially the defense. There’s going to be a lot of communication going on.”

Rookies, even more highly touted ones that Bush, have struggled early in their careers. Magnify that with a national audience, in prime time, in New England, against the greatest quarterback of all-time who will be watching his sixth Super Bowl banner raised before the game, and the challenge seems even more steep.

So how can the Steelers’ defense stifle Brady for a second year in a row?

“Turnovers, minimal mistakes and getting of the field on third downs,” Bush said. “Whenever it’s time to apply pressure, apply it. Go as fast as you can. Brady gets the ball out pretty fast, but if you can get there faster than he gets the ball out, you’re winning.”

This is no the first time that a Devin Bush has faced Brady. Amazingly, Bush’s father, Devin, faced Tom Brady during his NFL career, which stretched from 1995-2002. The elder Bush has given his son some advice on going up against the NFL’s fourth-all-time leading passer. 

“He was like, ‘hey, he is what he is. If you’ve got to go against him you’ve got to be at your best,’” Bush said.

Bush is not concerned about the atmosphere. After all, he regularly played in America’s biggest stadium at Michigan. He played road games at Penn State and Ohio State. A bigger challenge will be handling the enthusiasm and adrenaline that could lead to mistakes.

“You can get caught up in that, being in the NFL and trying to be perfect. Nobody is ever really perfect. That’s what practice is for, you’re supposed to go out there and mess up things and talk through it. That’s how you get better. 

“My preparation for this week is going to be huge for that. I’ll be ready for the test. I’ll definitely be ready.”

Nerves are real in a situation like this, especially when the opponent is celebrating the ultimate accomplishment. Bush is ready for it all. 

“I don’t really get nervous,” he said. “I’m not trying to be all cocky or anything. I’ve got a lot of confidence. It’s going to be cool to be there and see that. I want (a Super Bowl trophy). So that’ll be a huge motivation.”