Rookie linebacker Bud Dupree now has one official training camp practice under his belt and according to several reports, he was running with the second-team defense Sunday on the left side. Prior to taking the fields, however, Dupree met with the media to talk about the upcoming season.
“I am going to make an impact,” said Dupree, according to steelers.com. “Whatever I need to do to help my team win, I will do. Whatever coach puts me at I am okay, but you always work to start. I think I can make a big impact, along with other guys. Not just me. I see everyone has gotten better. Jarvis has stepped it up. I just want to keep getting better every day.”
Dupree has 17 more practices at Latrobe to go before the team breaks camp, so that gives him a lot of time to make those small daily improvements. The work that the Kentucky product put in over the summer during OTAs hopefully has him at a point right now where his head isn’t whirling.
“It helped me a lot,” said Dupree. “Just going with what the older guys say, this is way more physical. I am ready for it. I just have to make sure I am in the playbook a lot and playing full speed every play. I feel comfortable with defense.”
Dupree might be the future on the left side, but he must first cut his teeth in the league as a backup and special teams player with the Steelers and that’s usually the case with most rookie Pittsburgh linebackers. The Steelers re-signed Arthur Moats early on in the offseason and for now, he’s expected to be the starter on the left side and opposite Jarvis Jones. Veteran James Harrison is back as well and he figures to be the first player off the bench at outside linebacker.
For now, Dupree just needs to keep his head in the playbook and quickly correct whatever mistakes show up on the training camp and preseason tape. He will indeed have a chance to make an impact at some point during his rookie season, although I doubt many of the opportunities will come on defense during the first half of the 2015 season.