2016 South Side Questions: How Much Will Dupree’s Role Expand On Sunday?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Will Bud Dupree get a bigger slice of the playing time pie after the Steelers’ extended week?

The Steelers activated 2015 first-round outside linebacker Bud Dupree from the injured reserve list two games ago, but he literally saw just a single snap on defense throughout the entirety of his first game back in action.

The reason for that was actually pretty simple—they didn’t need him. The Steelers pass rush proved to be strong throughout that game, registering eight sacks, including one that forced a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown. They didn’t want to mess with what was working in the middle of the game.

Four days later, they bumped him up to playing 20 snaps, which was still a bit less than a third of the total amount of playing time. But in that relatively small workload, he did show some good things, especially considering that it was essentially his first action since last year.

Dupree did record two tackles in the game, and if memory serves, at least one, if not both of them were of the chasedown variety, coming from behind the play, showing his speed and athleticism to make the tackle.

While I haven’t put every one of his pass rushes under the microscope just yet—to be sure, there were times where he looked out of place, getting run up the arc and such—there was at least one play on which he generated pressure, though it was a completed pass.

I think the Steelers are aware that they have nothing special at the outside linebacker position, particularly on the left side. Arthur Moats has been demoted from the starting lineup in each of the past three seasons because he is not really at the level of being a starter. Anthony Chickillo has two sacks and forced fumbles, one of which was the product of somebody else creating the initial pressure.

After getting a good number of snaps on film on Thursday, and having an extended period to evaluate what he did, do the Steelers plan to increase his workload in the next game?

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