Not that this is unique to him by any means, but one thing that we seemingly hear by routine from Bud Dupree during the offseason is about the sacks that he missed. This felt more significant when he was only getting five or six sacks in a season and noting that if he just finished a handful of his other opportunities, he could be a double-digit-sack player, and he would be viewed differently.
Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher did finish a few more of his opportunities last season (and really, because he didn’t have a lot more pressures than he normally does—he largely just made more of them count than he has typically been able to), posting 11.5 sacks. Now playing under the franchise tag, the wonder is what’s next.
For him, it’s back to the drawing board, doing what he always does: looking at the sacks that he didn’t finish and figuring out how he can finish them this year. “Anytime as the pass rusher, you always go back and look at the sacks that you could have had that you miss, that was in your hand, and you try to correct those mistakes”, he told reporters on Monday.
“Finishing is a part of it, so you got to make sure that that’s a number one priority as a pass rusher to make sure that you finish at the end”, Dupree added. “You’re going to have a situation where you might not be the ideal position for a sack, but you got to keep it going and just make that play”.
Truthfully, it’s better to be a player who generates a high volume of pressure even if he doesn’t have as much success finishing those plays than it is to be a player with a low pressure total but has had more luck in converting those pressures into sacks.
Dupree is somewhere in between, and really, that is good enough, especially when the guy that you have on the other side is T.J. Watt, who for the past season and a half has been among the truly elite edge rushers in the NFL, both getting into the backfield with regularity and recording sacks—many of them jarring the ball loose in the process, with 14 forced fumbles over the past two seasons, most on sacks.
Of course, this is almost surely the last season where we’ll see Dupree and Watt together, with the former hitting unrestricted free agency and the Steelers lacking the money to pay him. But that’s a problem for 2021, not this season, and neither the team nor Dupree are spending too much time thinking about that right now.