Bud Dupree will be tasked to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ main source of pressure in 2017. Turns out, he’s just fine with embracing that pressure, too.
In an article yesterday from the Trib’s Joe Rutter, Dupree said he has no problems with the expectations placed upon him for the year.
“I like the pressure, but there really isn’t any pressure for me,” he told Rutter. “It’s expectations. People expect me to be the guy, and they see a lot of good things in me.”
High hopes is maybe even an understatement for the year Dupree is expected to have. He’s entering his third season, and one where he’s fully healthy. That’s unlike last year where a hernia injury worsened as training camp went on, forcing Dupree to undergo surgery and miss half the year. It wasn’t until the last month of the regular season that Dupree saw heavy snaps and probably even longer until he felt fully back. Still, he was productive, racking up 4.5 sacks and carrying that success over to the post-season.
Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler have droned on – and so have we, to be fair – about getting to the quarterback with just a four man rush. That places the onus on someone like Dupree, and the rest of the outside linebackers, to get home. It’s been years since the team has had their last dominant, double-digit sack pass rusher, a rain cloud that hangs over this defense. It’s arguably the most key component. Failing to have one for years is a smudge on Kevin Colbert’s resume (Tomlin’s too).
Rutter’s article has several quotes from Ryan Shazier about the shared optimism for Dupree’s breakout year. Go check those out. Such comments don’t mean much once the ball is kicked off, there was a time for optimism over Jarvis Jones too, but it’s good reinforcement to have.
To his credit, Dupree has worked tirelessly throughout the offseason, further evidence he’s embracing the idea of being the “guy,” even on a team with someone like James Harrison, who’s practically viewed as a demi-god. But Harrison’s 10+ sack days are over and there’s no one else on the team in position to do so right now. Besides Dupree.
It’s a huge year. For him and the team.
Pressure is good. Without it, this defense would fall apart.