Steelers Film Room: Bud Dupree Shows Hustle In First Extended Action

The Pittsburgh Steelers had to wait most of the season, but they finally got one of their most important draft picks back on the field and contributing on Thursday when Bud Dupree played more than one snap for the first time since the team’s playoff loss to Denver last season.

Still, it was only 20 snaps, and he didn’t have a huge impact—he actually spent a lot of his time dropping into coverage, and even off the line in the Steelers’ ‘faux-3’ 4-3 ‘look’ front, with one outside linebacker dropping to the second level. But he did manage to flash some of his athleticism, as well as his hustle, and that is plenty to build on. This is, after all, basically his training camp and preseason.

It wasn’t until the end of the first quarter the Dupree actually checked into the game for the first time, though when he did so, it was at his usual position. His first snap was a nondescript play. On his second snap, he recorded the tackle, first working on a delayed pass rush before peeling off to pursue the ball carrier following a short check down pass. He made the tackle following a three-yard gain, showing good acceleration.

His third snap, and the first of the second quarter, is notable in that he actually checked in on the right side of the defense, though it was a typical look in which the Steelers show both outside linebackers on one side of the field, and two down linemen in the other, a look they have been using for a few years. On this pass rush, Dupree displayed a spin move after his bull rush was stymied and tried to get a hand in the quarterback’s face.

He was not in for the Colts’ long drive at the end of the first half, so he didn’t see much action again until late in the third quarter. One play that is worth looking at came toward the end of their second long drive. On fourth and four. Off the snap, he stunted inside and registered his only official hit on the quarterback, though not in time to prevent a fourth-down conversion.

On the final play of that drive, on fourth and goal from the one, Dupree’s responsibility was to shadow the running back out of the backfield. In this instance, the back ran a flat route to the right pylon, and the outside linebacker was in good position in coverage.

Dupree’s second and final tackle of the game came with under five minutes remaining, checking in from the right side. He was initially worked up the arc on the pass rush, but he once again showed great hustle in coming back into the play and making the tackle.

One thing that we didn’t see much in this game—though there wasn’t much of a sample size—was Dupree succeeding against tackles in the pass rush. That is certainly something that we will be looking at against the Giants and going forward.

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Matthew Marczi

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

  • The Truth

    It’s good to see him hustling. That leads to plays. Hopefully he will be a well-rounded OLB. One who can cover, seal the edge and rush the passer based on his own ability, not because of the scheme.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Yeah.. I really hope the Steelers can find the approach to adding a difference-maker at OLB after the season.

  • Xclewsive

    Dupree’s lack of reach could be his undoing. That last GIF is terrible rush technique from Bud and he won’t get much pressure or sacks if he doesn’t change that.

  • falconsaftey43

    I hope we see some growth from Dupree this year. He’s their only hope at an edge rushing threat. I wasn’t very high on the pick because he’s so raw as a pass rusher, but he has the potential. Right now, his athletic ability and hustle are his best assets, he’ll get those pursuit tackles and can do some damage on stunts.

  • RickM

    Nice stunt, but the one-on-ones are no different from last year. It’s way too early to make judgements on whether his pass rushing skills have improved. But as Jack Nicholson would say, ‘Please tell me you have more Bud. Please tell me you have more than the same moves you had last year.’

  • Doug

    Who cares if his rushing the passer is because of the scheme? As long as he gets to the QB, who cares what the reasoning is?

  • falconsaftey43

    Because the goal is to have an edge rusher that can win his one on one battle with an OT. It frees the defense up to do a lot more schematically (like blitz less, more guys in coverage) if they have a guy who can just flat rush the passer instead of having to try and trick the offensive line into missing a block. Also makes it more effective to blitz away from a guy that is a strong pass rusher (i.e. teams tend to slide extra help to a strong edge rusher, you can then blitz ILBs or DBs up the middle or on the other side where there is less help to protect.)

    It’s like the difference between having a WR who can get open by running good routes vs one that can only get open off of rub routes or bunch sets where the defense just can’t get to him. Yeah it can work to scheme it up, but you can do a lot more if the guy is actually good.

  • WreckIess

    He looks quicker. That’s the benefit of knowing the playbook and not really playing for 11 games. He’s playing confidently and he’s hungry after being on the shelf for all that time.

    Can’t really grade his pass rush yet. He worked with Chuck Smith on his pass rush all off season and while that’s great for improving his technique he can’t really refine it until he actually practices that and more importantly plays some games. It’s one thing to work against some fat guys with hand pads on and something else entirely to utilize that technique against a guy who’s getting paid to not let you succeed.

  • Jim Foles

    Nice hold on 90 not called.

  • Ike Evans

    Thats what dupree is….a hustle player

  • popsiclesticks

    Technique still not very good but at least he looks explosive for his first real game back. I’m not counting the snap in Cleveland.

  • PapaJuju

    Yep. For all his measurements, he doesn’t convert speed to power well and plays with too much finesse.

  • The Truth

    Because schemes can be defended/hindered. If it is just the scheme getting to the QB then pretty much any OLB will do. Harrison wins his battles mostly on his ability. Take away his ability and what do you get? An OLB that you like. Individual battles must be won in football. You can’t always rely on the schemes and stunts.

    Have you noticed Jarvis Jones can’t get to the QB unless he is unblocked? RBs toss Jones aside. Wouldn’t it be better if Jones had the ability to beat these RBs, TEs, OTs…on his own ability rather than relying on stunts and so forth?

    There is a reason teams draft pass rushers high in the first round.

  • Thomas

    I saw that first play and immediately felt happy knowing he was back on the team. I’m hoping he can get 4 sacks by the end of the season.