Here’s what Bush had to say about newly acquired veteran linebackers Rashaan Evans and Nick Kwiatkoski and rookie linebacker Troy Andersen:
ON EVANS AND KWIATKOSKI: This is a little bit easier for him with Rashaan being in the system before. Nick has been in a system similar to this. It’s about communication and verbiage and them learning that. The structure, the bones of the defense, they kind of understand those things. That part is good, and they are veteran players. They have their own routine. They know how to go about their business. They know how to prepare themselves for the new stuff that we’ve got coming up. ... They have a pretty good idea of what we are trying to get done.
MORE ON EVANS: He’s a sharp guy. He’s confident. The thing about it is, and what’s been impressive is, that he was in the system with (defensive coordinator) Dean (Pees) as well. He sits in the meetings and takes great notes. He never misses anything. He asks all of the right questions. ... He prides himself on going back through it and making it fresh every time (like he’s) learning something new from it every time.
ON A NEW GUY COMING IN AND ALREADY KNOWING THE DEFENSE: It helps. It gets (Evans) through the process a little bit faster. It helps him react on the field a little bit faster. He’s seen some of these situations. Maybe we didn’t call it quite the same and whatnot, but things look the same so he can play a little bit faster.
ON THE INSIDE LB GROUP AS A WHOLE: We feel good about the group that is here. All these kids are in here working and trying to find a way to improve themselves and get better. When you look at this group, the amount of guys that we’ve got and how they are built physically, we believe that we can put a solid group together. There is going to be some good competition, which is going to make the entire (meeting) room better.
ON ROOKIE LB ANDERSEN: You have to find the things that will help him get to the athlete. Right now he’s in a learning mode. He’s trying to figure the thing out. Although, we like him as a linebacker, that’s where he played well at Montana State. He does not know our language. We’ve got to teach him, school him up on how we do things. The faster he learns stuff, the faster you’ll see the player on the field. He’s trending. He’s doing the right things. I can only say good things about the kid. He’s humble. He’s here to learn every day. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He’s starting to show his skill set the more that he learns.
ON IF HE’S A THREE-DOWN PLAYER: Everything is a process. We’re going to find a way to get the best guys on the field. If Troy is one of those best guys, he’ll find himself out there. ... You don’t want to give him the MVP yet. We don’t want to discard him just yet. But it’s process, and I like where he is in the process. He’s a humble kid. He’s extremely intelligent. … We’re just going to stay with the process. We’ll see where it comes out. I’m happy with him, but it is a difficult process that he’s got to go through.
ON IF HE CAN RELATE AS A FORMER ROOKIE COMING IN:(Bush, an Athens native who played at Clarke Central High and N.C. State, was a fifth-round pick by the Oilers in 1985. A diagnosis of a narrow spinal canal forced an early end to his playing career.) Yeah, a little bit, when you come in, it seems calm to people around you, but within you and the stuff that’s going on with you, it’s a whirlwind. It’s finding somewhere new to live. It’s learning the new defenses. It’s learning the new people around you. It’s constantly moving. You never really feel that you can just sit and have anything firm to stand on as a rookie because every day is a new situation. Let’s face it, financially you’re different than you used to be. You’ve got people coming at you, they want to help, but you don’t know. You have no idea. There a very few rookies who can come in with the financial acumen to help themselves. It’s just a big world. Fortunately, I’ve gone through some things and can throw some anecdotes out there to help them move along. I do understand. It may seem calm around them, but within that kid there is a storm flying around because there are just so many things going on that he probably never had to deal with.
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Esq is the award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the newspaper, has been on the staff since 2003. Every day D. Orlando strives to provide inside in the Falcons and the NFL. He finds the most joy in providing insight into the team, the coaching moves, the offseason business moves, the draft and the games.