OTAs may have been voluntary, but that doesn’t mean that players can’t also volunteer for extra work on their own. And for the outside linebackers, that is what veteran Arthur Moats and third-year starter Bud Dupree have been doing for the Pittsburgh Steelers each day after practice, trying to get some more work in.
Dupree, of course, is already an entrenched starter, but there is heavy pressure, and expectations, for him to continue to get better. He missed the majority of his second season a year ago while recovering from a sports hernia surgery that resulted in him spending the first 10 games of the season on injured reserve.
He was brought back into the fold slowly for the first couple of games, but he logged more and more time to the point where he was hardly coming off the field by the end of the regular season. Over the course of the last four games, he recorded four and a half sacks, although Pittsburgh is looking for more of the 2.5-second, beat-the-tackle variety that is needed.
According to Jacob Klinger, Dupree has been working with Moats after each practice working on their hand usage, something that they have been doing since the beginning of the offseason program in the middle of April.
“As soon as we get done with our sprints and lifting we’re like ‘come on, let’s get some hand work in’ because we know that any little thing helps and a lot of times it just comes down to that little bit of detail in in your hands”, Moats told the reporter last week for PennLive. “And that can be the difference between a sack and a pressure”.
According to Dupree, they are “just emphasizing turning the corner so when people push you and try to push you by the quarterback you want to be able to know when they’re going to do it so you can get your hands out real quick”.
The former first-round pick has already talked about the fact that he is spending a great deal of time working with a pass-rush specialist during his free time this offseason, something that he will resume after the Steelers break upon the conclusion of this week’s minicamp.
This is just yet another step that he is trying to take in order to help him become the type of game-breaking pass-rusher that Pittsburgh needs him to become as James Harrison winds down his career and T.J. Watt just begins to crack the surface of his.
He talked about the fact that he is a speed rusher and that he should be able to consistently get a step or two on the tackle to make him have to reach, forcing him to try to engage at the shoulder rather than at the hip, which makes the rusher more difficult to turn or redirect.
As for Moats, the veteran probably realizes that he needs all the help he can get in order to remain on the 53-man roster after the team drafted two outside linebackers in the 2017 NFL Draft.