Bud Dupree Warming Up In Time For Postseason Play

Yesterday against the Browns, 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers first-round outside linebacker Jarvis Jones recorded his sixth sack of his career in his 50th game played. In the same game, Steelers 2015 first-round outside linebacker Bud Dupree recorded the eighth-and-a-half sack of his career in his 23rd game played after notching one in the regular-season finale.

Dupree spent the first nine games of the 2016 regular season on injured reserve after he spent the offseason dealing with a core muscle injury. That situation ultimately evolved to a point at which it was determined that surgical intervention was the best solution for going forward.

When he returned, against the Browns in their first meeting, he played just one snaps, and he remained relatively limited in the following week as well, against the Colts. He was not in the starting lineup until the Week 14 game against the Bills, playing behind fellow second-year outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who has hardly played since then.

Over the course of these past four starts, Dupree has recorded four and a half sacks, representing his season total. He recorded his first, and still only, multiple-sack game in Buffalo, registering two and a half sacks, and he has also taken down Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III in consecutive weeks.

In taking Griffin down yesterday, he also knocked the ball loose, which represented the first forced fumble of his career, and he also recorded a career-high seven tackles, representing his second-most productive game of his career short of the Bills game, in which he also had six tackles in addition to the sacks.

In his first three games of action while getting himself reacclimated o the game—keeping in mind that he only played one snap in the first game—Dupree recorded a total of four tackles. In his last four games, he has recorded 20 tackles, four and a half sacks, recorded a forced fumble, and added a pass deflection to boot.

That is not to say that he is necessarily playing amazing football, as he still has a lot to learn, and is still working his way back from injury, which he has said is still getting better week by week as his speed and flexibility return to him.

Four of his seven tackles resulted in unsuccessful plays for the Browns’ offense, as did, of course, his sack. He also pressured Griffin in overtime on second and goal to force him to throw the ball away, though the Steelers ended up having to stop the Browns for four more plays due to a ball penalty call by the officials.

Dupree may have looked bad on the team’s last defensive play against the Ravens a week ago, but what he has consistently shown outside of that play once getting up to speed is that he still plays with quickness and hustle, and, frankly, that has been enough to separate him from Jones in terms of being able to make an impact, particularly as a pass rusher. Not that Jones has lacked for hustle, but his quickness just doesn’t get him there in time. Dupree’s does.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • WreckIess

    4.5 sacks in 6 games is pretty impressive. Not saying he would’ve reached this mark, but over a 16 game period that would put him on pace to get 12 sacks. Don’t think he would’ve gotten it, but he’s showing that 7 to 10 sacks isn’t out of the question for him.

    That sack yesterday was a thing of beauty and if he can build on that we could have a solid pass rushing threat on our hands.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    If he could have a Vic Beasley jump next year would be super sweet!

  • Michael James

    In the first half yesterday I was really frustrated, because he just couldn’t beat Cam Erving, one of the worst RTs in the league. Something must have happened during halftime, because he looked way better in the second half and his sack was a thing of beauty as he got a clean win 1vs1 and even stripped the ball! He is sometimes frustrating to watch, but I think he’s very close to ‘getting it’ since he has won the edge more times those last two games than in his entire career before (and he’s actually starting to show he can bend the edge).

  • Ask Questions Later

    Truly I think “What could have been” had Dupree not been injured…

    10 sack guy was never out of the question given his performance as of late…. a performance which still includes him playing with pain even after surgery.

  • Ask Questions Later

    Do not worry. He will.

  • Chris92021

    If we asked him to do nothing but rush the passer (like the Falcons do with Vic Beasley), Dupree would easily get 12 sacks in 16 games. Thing is, we ask him to do a lot more so getting 8-10 in a season while setting the edge against the run and dropping into coverage is more than OK.

  • Ike Evans

    Thats actually not what the falcons do….kansas city does with justin houston tho

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Since the LBs have been set in stone recently, the entire LB core has been making plays and looks really solid. If Ironhead and Tuitt were in there they would be even better. The future is bright.

  • charles

    Championships are won with defense. That old cliche may not be true with this O. However Dupree and the Butler’s learning curve are on a par. And, they both need to bring their A game for the next 4 games…

  • Ryan

    It’s only his second season to. Can’t wait to see what he does during our road to 7 and next season. Hopefully in the draft we get another OLB to pair with him to wreak havoc.

  • WreckIess

    I think he can become a double digit sack a year kind of guy. It’s clear that he learned some techniques this off season, but when a young guy like him can’t practice that in almost 3 months he’s bound to get rusty. Even still you can kind of see it coming back to him, but he probably needs another off season before he can put it all together.

  • Kevin artis

    Even with his improvement, we still need to draft at least two edge rushers one and two. Either OLB or DE with pass rushing ability.

  • StolenUpVotes

    The light is starting to flip on it seems

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    😊👍

  • colingrant

    He’s come up short on pass rushing, but in today’s game, open field tackling and solo tackling (or primary tackler) on skill players with the ball runs a close second. As a linebacker only Shazier is superior to him in this area.

    Against short passing game teams (New England) he’s critically important. Should he get a pass rush, he could be on of the top outside linebackers in the league, as most pass rushing performers aren’t as productive in space 7 yards off the ball. He’s at home there.

  • pittsburghjoe

    We better hope JH returns next year and produces at the same level. The other side is a potential pit fall and could impact his production. We need today’s JH and a high level draft pick as an apprentice.

  • Petherson Silveira

    Just in time baby!! Keep on rollin´!

  • Chris92021

    I think if we win the Super Bowl, Deebo will ride off into the sunset of retirement. But yeah, we might need him back in 2017 or hope Myles Garrett and Derek Barnett fall to us.

  • thomas hmmmm

    We will be drafting OLB high in the upcoming draft in either the first or second round. Plus Chick is developing and could end up playing opposite of Dupree

  • steelburg

    I have been impressed with Bud these last few weeks. I criticized him highly a few weeks back about showing sone learned moves mostly and he has started to show improvement. That move he made to get his sack yesterday was big time, I don’t care if it was against my grandmother. He needs to continue to play like a guy who is trying to make up for lost time because the keys to the OLB position group will be handed to him next year. Based of what he has done over these past few weeks I feel a lot better about him going into next year.

  • racy1285

    Comparing Dupree and Jones stats just further hammers home how badly the Steelers screwed up the first pick in the 2013 draft. To think we could have gotten Eric Ried or Xavier Rhodes instead and our secondary would be deadly righ now. But oh well.

  • stellarsfan

    I think we finally hit on a pass rusher gentlemen. Dupree has had a slower start to his career than we all had hoped, but there’s a developmental curve that he’s starting to be on the right side of. He was pretty raw coming out of Kentucky, and injuries of course didn’t help. But if he can keep progressing, I think we may have a future difference maker on our hands.

    (Still would love to draft a couple more OLBs in April though)

  • Steeler83

    Garett or Barnett? It seems a little ambitious but why not ^^
    I think that Demarcus Walker, Dawuane Smoot or Charles Harris will be available when we will be on the clock. I need to watch some tapes about them to have an idea about their real upside ! Tim williams could be in the discussion as well but he seems pretty weak against the run.