Due to them suffering several injuries along their offensive line over the course of the last several weeks, the Indianapolis Colts will be forced to start a makeshift front five Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field and that will include a rookie making his second-career start at right tackle.
Rookie seventh-round draft pick Denzelle Good will likely be the player tabbed to start against the Steelers at right tackle Sunday night as Joe Reitz will once again have to start at left tackle with Anthony Castonzo sidelined with knee injury. Additionally, Lance Louis will more than likely start at right guard against the Steelers with starter Hugh Thornton ruled out for the game with an elbow injury suffered last Sunday.
The Colts jumbling on the right side of their offensive line figures to favor Steelers left defensive end Stephon Tuitt and rookie left outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who made his first career start last week in the team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
“We felt like he’s been playing well for us,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Thursday of Dupree. “We’re trying to get him a little more comfortable with what he’s doing in our defense. The more he plays, the better he’ll get.”
While Dupree, who enters Sunday night’s game with 4 sacks to his credit, has been wildly inconsistent so far this season, he has impressed his teammates with his ability to get-off at the snap of the football.
“Whenever I can’t see the quarterback, that’s the best thing for me,” safety Mike Mitchell said recently, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Ralph N. Paulk. “We saw in training camp, when we first put pads on, that Dupree’s get-off is A-1. It’s unique. He can get by a tackle before he can turn around.”
While Dupree continues to work on the rest of his counter moves with his rookie season now starting to wind down, he certainly knows that his quick first step is his calling card.
“I’m trying to live off that and make the plays I can,” Dupree told Paulk. “After a while, I’ll start mastering other things and taking it to another level.”
As for Tuitt, the Steelers second-round draft pick last year, he now seems to have the knee sprain that he suffered during the middle season that forced him to miss two games behind him. Since returning from his injury, the Notre Dame product has registered 9 total tackles and a sack in the last three games. He enters Sunday night with 4.5 quarterback takedowns which has him in second place on the team in that statistical category behind fellow defensive end Cameron Heyward (5).
Sunday night’s matchup between Tuitt and Louis is one that the Steelers young defensive end is expected to win several times, so we expect him to really be able to get after veteran Matt Hasselebeck in this game. Additionally, while Dupree will spend most of Sunday night rotating with veteran Arthur Moats at left outside linebacker, his quick get-off should result in him getting the best of Good a few times.