Bud Dupree’s mission is going to be getting more sacks but as a whole, he knows he can’t be the only one to create big plays. It’ll be on the shoulders of the entire Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense to create more turnovers, something Dupree candidly admitted speaking to reporters yesterday.
“We got to keep being physical,” Dupree told the media via the team site. “And get more turnovers. We didn’t have as many turnovers as we should have. So we gotta get more turnovers.”
Pittsburgh had just 13 interceptions last season, finishing squarely in the middle of the pack. It’s not an awful number but a far cry from where the defense would want to end up.
And only eight of those interceptions came from the secondary. The linebackers came close to equaling the defensive backs and Ryan Shazier tied for the team lead with three picks. Only Artie Burns had more than one interception from the DBs, also picking off three. Mike Mitchell, William Gay, and Sean Davis rounded things out with one apiece.
It’s a team effort to improve those numbers but you can’t help but single out Davis as someone who needs to make those kind of impact plays. Strong safety has always been a playmaker in the Steelers’ defense and they haven’t found anyone who can even achieve a fraction of the playmaking Troy Polamalu accomplished.
In six years with the Steelers, Will Allen picked off two passes. Robert Golden’s downfall was the lack of playmaking and Davis didn’t do much in that regard as a rookie. Healthy and a year under his belt, the spotlight will be on him to remedy that.
Though I generally loathe any questions about New England, Dupree said adhering to those goals – being physical and creating turnovers – will give them their best chance for a rematch.
“We keep them in our mind because they beat us last year…moving forward, we just want to get back to the title game with them.”