The Pittsburgh Steelers have overcome more than their fair share of adversity this season and head coach Mike Tomlin deserves quite a bit of the credit for that. On Thursday, Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree was a guest on ‘Good Morning Football’ and early in his interview he was asked to disclose the message that Tomlin delivered to the team after the rough start to the 2019 regular season that has resulted in the team having a 7-5 record entering the final quarter of it.
“Well, Coach Tomlin is the same way every day,” Dupree said. “Every morning he’s the same. Always saying, ‘Don’t blink.’ Always saying, ‘We’ve got to engineer victory.’ So, when all those guys went down, he came in and started saying, ‘We’ve got to engineer victory.’ So, what he meant by that is we’ve got to find a way to win. And then on the defensive side of the ball, we’ve got to step up that much more and go out and just make more plays to set the offense up so they can get in better field position.”
The defense has certainly held up their end of things through 12 regular season games played as the unit currently leads the NFL in total takeaways with 30 after registering just 15 all last season. Because of that huge turnaround the Steelers has had in one season in the takeaway department, Dupree was asked on Thursday to give his opinion on why and how that’s happened.
“You know, just putting an emphasis on that,” Dupree said. “Going out every weekend knowing that we’ve got to get the ball for the offense. Knowing that we’ve got to make plays, knowing that we’ve got to make a lot of splash plays to get the offense going because they don’t have as many guys over there. And also get ourselves going. You know, we’ve got so many talented guys on defense that we’ve gotta make those type of plays for us to gel together. And it’s coming together real well. You know a lot of the guys are super excited about each week coming up. We’re always competing and trying to see who can make the next big play.”
Dupree has certainly responsible for making a lot of those big plays as he enters Week 14 having registered 50 total tackles, 8.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, three passes defensed, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Dupree’s big season figures to result in a double-digit sacks season, which is something Steelers fans have witnessed quite often from past linebackers that have played in Pittsburgh over the years. Dupree was asked Thursday morning to describe what it’s like playing for team that has the kind of linebacker legacy like the Steelers have at that position.
“You know, there’s a lot of great guys that played before me,” Dupree said. “There’s a lot of legends that came before me. And also, just seeing the footprints that they left behind, following those guys. And the real Steeler way of football, you know, just puts that type of image in our heads to go out there and just ball the way they did. You know, try to make as many plays as they did. It always starts with those guys up front and then it trickles back to the other guys on defense and it makes the defense that much more fiery.”
Dupree has made himself a lot of money this season as he’s currently scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March of 2020. Hopefully he gets at least a few more sacks in the Steelers final four regular season games so that he can hit the double-digit mark in that statistical category. He and fellow Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who was named the AFC Defensive Player for the month of November Thursday morning, have a chance to become the first Steelers defensive duo to each register double-digit sacks since 2010 when outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley accomplished the feat.