2016 South Side Questions: How Much Will Dupree’s Role Expand On Sunday?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Will Bud Dupree get a bigger slice of the playing time pie after the Steelers’ extended week?

The Steelers activated 2015 first-round outside linebacker Bud Dupree from the injured reserve list two games ago, but he literally saw just a single snap on defense throughout the entirety of his first game back in action.

The reason for that was actually pretty simple—they didn’t need him. The Steelers pass rush proved to be strong throughout that game, registering eight sacks, including one that forced a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown. They didn’t want to mess with what was working in the middle of the game.

Four days later, they bumped him up to playing 20 snaps, which was still a bit less than a third of the total amount of playing time. But in that relatively small workload, he did show some good things, especially considering that it was essentially his first action since last year.

Dupree did record two tackles in the game, and if memory serves, at least one, if not both of them were of the chasedown variety, coming from behind the play, showing his speed and athleticism to make the tackle.

While I haven’t put every one of his pass rushes under the microscope just yet—to be sure, there were times where he looked out of place, getting run up the arc and such—there was at least one play on which he generated pressure, though it was a completed pass.

I think the Steelers are aware that they have nothing special at the outside linebacker position, particularly on the left side. Arthur Moats has been demoted from the starting lineup in each of the past three seasons because he is not really at the level of being a starter. Anthony Chickillo has two sacks and forced fumbles, one of which was the product of somebody else creating the initial pressure.

After getting a good number of snaps on film on Thursday, and having an extended period to evaluate what he did, do the Steelers plan to increase his workload in the next game?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Steve Johnson

    I think he will play about 50% of the Defensive snaps. No, he didn’t do anything special, but for a guy that missed training camp, the preseason and his 1st game in 2016, he looked pretty good to me. I was at that game, besides Shazier, I think he’s their 2nd fastest LB. No doubt, in 2017 I think the Steelers will draft two OLB’s and one ILB. I just hope they get it right.

  • CP72

    Dupree is the future on the left side. Why not keep Moats in the rotation on the left side with Bud. Use Chickillo and Harrison on the right side and demote Jarvis Jones. He’s done little to nothing to merit playing time over the guys mentioned above.

    I don’t think anyone knows who is going to be the starter on the right side in 2017. At the very least Chickillo is to likely be the top back up for both spots. Why not get him some snaps on the right side now to see if he might have a long term future there. We already know Jarvis doesn’t.

  • Ken

    It’s sure good to see him out there, his strength and speed are a good combination that we don’t have. Other than our old reliable 92.

  • Michael James

    I’ve posted it under another article, but here seems to be the best place:
    I rewatched the game and looked at Dupree specifically. I was really impressed. He looks much more aggressive out there and he seems to anticipate things much faster. He dropped into coverage most of the time and only had four or five real pass-rushing snaps, but his first step is still ridiculous. I’m very confident in him developing into a quality edge-rusher.

  • steelburg

    I’m convinced that whatever edge Dupree had on Chickillo is no longer there. I think both players are neck and neck when it comes to what you get from them on the field. In the potential department I think Dupree is still the cream of the crop over Chickillo. But I still feel Chickillo can be a good player. I agree with CP72 less Jarvis, more Chickillo, Moats, and Harrison.

  • AndyR34

    Since 2007, it is somewhat unusual for the Steelers not to draft 2 LB’s: 2016 – Feeney, Dirty Red; 2015 – DuPree, Chick; 2014 – Shazier, Zumwalt; 2013 – JJ, Vince W., 2012 – Spence; 2011 – Carter; 2010 – Worilds, T. Gibson, Sylvester; 2009 – NONE; 2008 – B. Davis, M. Humpal; 2007 – Timmons, Woodley, S. Stephenson. These don’t even count for the several UDFA’s signed as well…several who some on here excited: Howard Jones, Terence Garvin, Adrian Robinson, Patrick Bailey. Obviously, not all make it…there are hits and misses in there. Feeney was a favorite of many on this board after the draft and during pre-season. He’s not even an afterthought when we talk about 2017. He may or may not figure into their plans for next year. Way too early to be making the call on what their 2017 draft strategy will be…we don’t even know what athletes are going to be in the pool. But I also understand it is merely an opinion.


    I’ve been pleased with Chick’s play to date, but I totally disagree…he’s nowhere near the athlete that Dupree is…He’s had more impact simply because he’s been playing more…I’m not as high on Moats now as I once was…it wouldn’t bother me to see the LOLB rotation be more of Dupree/Chickillo and move Moats into the rotation on the right side with Harrison, and use Jones to give Timmons a break and maybe a series or two at OLB to spell Harrison…I want Harrison fresh at the end of the game.

    Jones cannot sack the QB, but he’s better in coverage than Harrison or Chickillo.

  • RickM

    I agree that the Steelers recognize Dupree is their best option off the left side. I’d be surprised if he didn’t bump that 20 snaps up to about 35, if not more. And hopefully we can see some pass rushing progress on those snaps.

  • pittfan

    Thanks for the comments. I was thinking to myself I’d wait till someone did a breakdown of Buds snaps before forming an opinion.

  • steelburg

    We all saw a whole year of Dupree last year compare his play from last year (which is all we really have to go off of) to the play of Chickillo right now, it’s really not that much of a difference IMO. Dupree overall is definitely the better athlete no arguments there. But let me open your eyes a little because I think your sleeping on Chickillo as a athlete. When you get within 10 yards and look at the drills that show quickness Chickillo has better numbers for the most part.

    Height- 6’4 Vert- 42
    Weight- 269 BJ- 11’06
    40YD- 4.56 20 YDSH – 4.48
    20YD- 2.65 3 Cone- 7.52
    10YD- 1.60

    Height- 6’3 Vert- 34 1/2
    Weight- 267 BJ- 9’06
    40YD- 4.79 20 YDSH – 4.25
    20YD- 2.77 3 Cone- 7.17
    10YD- 1.66


    Appreciate the stats and on paper they look close, but on the field those are big differences imo. What it means in terms of production…to be honest it’s hard to say as both have really only played a yr.

    That said…I’m all in on Chickillo. He’s shown me enough to say he should be re-signed…if he out performs Dupree, I’ll be the first to come back and admit I was wrong.

  • Matthew Marczi

    It’s very possible that Jones loses playing time. All five are capable of playing on both sides, so I don’t think anybody is safe. If Chickillo is starting next year, then this team didn’t do enough to get better.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m probably going to be taking a look at his game in a film room in the next day or two myself.

  • steelburg

    Well since you brought up the production let’s take a look. Bud Dupree 2015 stats 16 games played with 5 starts 26 tackles 4 sacks. Anthony Chickillo 11 games played so far with 6 starts 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks. So the production is just as good with 5 games to play. I still think Dupree will be the better player all I’m saying is that as we look at the 2 right now it’s isn’t much difference unless Dupree can prove other wise.


    I’ll say Dupree has more upside if those measurables transfer to production the field, but on the current sample, you’re right…not much difference.

  • steelburg

    No arguments there, I agree I definitely think Dupree has the most upside.

  • Michael James

    If Dupree is healthy, he will play. It’s no question, really. Chickillo has worked hard and has shown some improvement, but he’ll never be an elite edge rusher. Dupree on the other hand has all the potential in the world and is simply much more explosive.
    Tomlin even said on his press conference, that Dupree and Harrison will play most of the snaps from now on. The other three OLBs are battling over some snaps here and there.

  • steelburg

    And you know that Chickillo will never be a elite pass rusher because? Right now we still dont know what we have in either player. Dupree is more explosive no arguments there but if you compare there numbers Chickillo was on pace to have numbers that would have been better than Dupree’s last year. None of the OLB have been very impressive if you ask me and Harrison has come on of late, that’s why it makes since to turn to the guy you drafted in the first round because no one else is lighting it up. Besides he is a first round pick they have to try and salvage some of this year for him if they can.

  • Michael James

    Chick isn’t explosive enough. He can be a quality player, but if you look at all those elite pass-rushers in the league (Von Miller, Mack, Houston etc.), they are otherworldly athletes. Dupree is in that category (although his 3-cone and 20-yard shuffle weren’t that great), Chickillo isn’t. He isn’t a bad athlete by any means, but he isn’t something special either. His first step is significantly slower than Dupree’s for example.
    Agree with the other things you said.

  • steelburg

    Good thing James Harrison didn’t think like you. He just broke the team sack record and no one would consider him a otherworldly athlete.

  • Michael James

    Harrison is much stronger than Chick, has perfect technique and still bends the edge very well. But Harrison isn’t an elite edge rusher anymore, like he was back in 2008. He’s still good, but he lacks the explosion he had back then.