Among the highlights for the Seahawks in Thursday's preseason win over the Vikings was a big hit by newcomer Devin Bush on kick coverage duty.
In addition to making a stop, the hit was also the kind of play that gets a sideline fired up, and it's also the type of play that is important in preseason games, because teams don't replicate that level of hitting in practice.
And it was also a play that stands out even more when you consider that Bush, a former first-round pick of the Steelers who signed with Seattle this spring, was never on kickoff coverage teams in Pittsburgh.
"That was my first kickoff ever in the NFL so I'm glad it went that way," Bush said. "It was fun, I liked that."
Bush's big hit was just part of what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called a good overall effort when it came to playing fast and physical. Aside from some missed tackles early, Carroll liked a lot about what he saw in Thursday's 24-13 win.
"I was really pleased to see the effort across the board," Carroll said Saturday. "The running and the hitting part that we emphasize has to show up now that it's game time. The next level that we weren't able to get to in practice—we approached it, we didn't' quite get to it—really showed up. Guys were really humming. I don't know if it was obvious to everybody watching, but we were sloppy early, and we just got better as we got used to the tempo and all of that. I think we missed seven tackles in the first quarter, then we missed two the rest of the night, so it couldn't be more indicative of, we needed the game, we need it to get ready. That's why preseason is so important."
Bush, who had six tackles, including one for a loss, all in the first half, was one of the bright spots in Seattle's preseason opener, as was defensive back Coby Bryant, who seems to be thriving in his move to safety.
On Bush, Carroll said, "He played a really good football game, by the way. One of the real standout guys. He played really well on special teams too, which he doesn't have any experience in, he hasn't done that before. So his first time out was really impressive."
Bryant, who was Seattle's nickel cornerback as a rookie, has been playing both safety and nickel in camp this year, and with starters Quandre Diggs and Julian Love sitting out Thursday's game, Bryant got the start against the Vikings. Bryant finished his limited action with four tackles, including a huge hit over the middle that would have made the founding members of the Legion of Boom proud, as well as a physical run stuff for no gain on third-and-1.
"I thought Coby played really well," Carroll said. "If you remember the mock game, Coby played really well also. He's really getting comfortable playing back on the back end. He has been really physical, noticeably one of the best hitters out there, so I'm really pleased to see that. Coming from the corner spot and the nickel spot, that's a good statement he has made. He's really serious about getting everything in order."
Bryant said Thursday that coaches approached him at the start of training camp about giving safety a try, and said that only a few weeks into that move, he is "Extremely comfortable. It's not my first time playing safety. I played safety my freshman year in college and obviously they have the respect for me to allow me to play safety. I'm getting comfortable, for sure."
The biggest adjustment, Bryant said, is playing in space farther from the line of scrimmage.
"The biggest thing I would say is the space," he said. "Just coming down and making that tackle, God forbid you miss that tackle, the whole world sees it. Still having to learn gaps, learning the deep half, playing quarters, things like that. Just still learning."
Bryant will still get work at cornerback as camp and the preseason progresses, but by showing what he can do at safety, the second-year player out of Cincinnati is showing the type of versatility that makes him even more valuable heading into the season.
"He's just trying to put it together and figure it out," Carroll said. "He has been a corner in his brain for a long time. He's still going to play corner, we're going to come to that. We're trying to just make sure we really focus on safety because that's the new spot. But as we go forward, we know that he can play corner for us and the nickel spot and the dime spot, so he's got everything under his belt. He's a really valuable player."
Check out some of the best action shots from Preseason Week 1 vs. the Minnesota Vikings at Lumen Field on August 10, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery. This album will be updated throughout the game.