It’s hard to know for sure when exactly Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree will be allowed to start practicing again now that he’s presumably in the final stages of rehabbing from his hernia surgery. With that said, the team’s 2015 first-round draft pick can’t wait to get back on the field again.
“I’m very anxious, and I’m ready to get back on the field,” Dupree said recently, per Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m doing more stuff now, and I see the progress. Every day there’s more progress, which makes me feel as if I’m doing something right.”
Whenever Dupree is ultimately able to resume practicing, to hear his position coach Joey Porter talk earlier this week, fans of the team probably shouldn’t expect him to make a huge impact during his first few games back in action.
“We know he’s been out of ball for a while,” said Porter. “So, we’ll be able to evaluate him as he’s working practice and get a gauge on how he’s feeling then and keep my eye on him and see what he’s doing from that standpoint. I know from a mental standpoint, we haven’t done doing nothing different, so he’s going to know the defense.
“He’s been sitting in the meeting room, so he’s going to be fine there. It’s just really about him getting out there on the field and doing it. He hasn’t been doing it in a long time, so all that time of training and getting ready for training camp and then missing all of that time, I just can’t say you’re going to go right out there and pick up where you left off, because that really just doesn’t happen like that.”
Porter’s comments about Dupree certainly make a lot of sense as the linebacker has been sidelined for quite some time now. Add on to that the fact that Dupree still has a lot of development still forthcoming as a second-year player and it’s hard to expect him to come back from his hernia surgery and make an instant impact, especially as a pass rusher.
Dupree, on the other hand, believes that even while sidelined, he’s learned a lot from watching tape from his rookie season.
“I know I’m a totally different player than I was last year,” said Dupree, who registered four sacks as a rookie. “I’ve watched a lot of film, and I’ve noticed how many plays I didn’t make last season. Right now, I’m in a different place as far as understanding how to play my position.”
Understanding how to play the position and putting it into action on the field are two totally different things, however, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of his second season ultimately plays out when and if he finally starts playing again.
“I have to fine tune and hope it comes back faster when I step on the field, Dupree said. I’m going to need to make plays.”
The Steelers defense certainly could stand to have Dupree make some plays when he does return as their outside linebackers have only registered 2.5 sacks in the team’s first seven regular season games.