The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Bud Dupree will reach double-digit sacks before the regular season is over.
Explanation: Entering the 2019 season, fifth-year outside linebacker Bud Dupree had never posted more than six sacks in a single season. He already was ahead of that mark before Sunday’s game, sitting at seven, before recording a sack and a half. Now at eight and a half, he needs just one and a half more sacks over the course of the final four games to reach 1, which is often seen as a significant milestone for pass rushers.
This is certainly a bet that I would take. Dupree has recorded at least one sack in seven of 12 games this year, and he has two multiple-sack games, both of them coming within the past five contests. There is no single four-game span at any point in the 2019 season in which he failed to record a minimum of two sacks. His longest sack drought this season has been just two games, which has happened twice.
Aside from the statistical probabilities, he is simply playing too well for this not to happen. Even when he’s not finishing off sacks, he is still getting pressure and causing problems. More often than not, over the course of the game, that eventually manifests in him getting a takedown.
Sacks are never a consistent statistic, however. One could have a very good and productive season as a pass rusher without hitting the 10-sack mark. It all depends upon the quality of your opportunities, and that is also relative to how your own defense performs. If the secondary is allowing the ball to come out quickly, the pass rush isn’t going to get home very often.
The Steelers have also been a far better team getting sacks at home than on the road. They have just eight sacks in five road games so far, and three of their final four games are away from Heinz Field. Only two of Dupree’s eight and a half sacks have come on the road.