The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How would you evaluate Bud Dupree’s season up to this point?
Were it not for an outlandish 11-sack performance that the Baltimore Ravens were able to deliver on Sunday, the Steelers would be leading the league in sacks, as they were heading into the week. While T.J. Watt has gotten the lion’s share of them to date, Bud Dupree has been as much a part of that as anyone not named Watt.
His three sacks through the Steelers’ first six games puts him on pace to set a new career-high of eight sacks on the year if he continues to average about one every other game, which is not necessarily bad. That is especially so given that the team does drop its outside linebackers into coverage more than any other.
Dupree has also generally been successful in generating pressure on the quarterback—or perhaps it’s more accurately said that the defense has been successful in putting him into positions to generate pressure on the quarterback.
It is still the case that the majority of his pressures come as a result of stunts, often inside, rather than going around a tackle, though he has been able to do so from time to time. His run defense can always use some work, but he has made plays, and he also recorded the first interception of his career, returning it for a touchdown. He also has two other passes defensed.
All in all, I can’t say that it isn’t anything we didn’t expect. While he may have made some modest strides, he is certainly not fooling anybody for a star pass-rusher, or even Watt. He has not been a liability, but how much is he making the team better by being on the field?