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.