Bud Dupree: ‘It Helped A Lot Not Having The Rotation’

When the Pittsburgh Steelers used their first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft on outside linebacker Bud Dupree, they did so envisioning him some day as an every-down player. He already exceeded playing time expectations during his rookie season, not only working into a rotation immediately, but by the end of the season finding himself as the ‘starter’ at the top of the rotation.

But Dupree will be as glad as anybody on the coaching staff to see the rotation dropped this upcoming season, a continuation of where they left off in 2016. After missing most of the season, the former first-rounder was the second man in a rotation on the left side, but was playing every down as a starter by the end of the regular season and into the playoffs.

“It helped a lot not having the rotation”, he said of his play toward the end of the year via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “Coming in on a rotation you feel like you have to come in and make a play right away if you want to be on the field. You want to the coaches to see you make a play”.

The Steelers didn’t quite ever have a formal rotation of their outside linebackers, mostly going by feel and the flow of the game to decide who gets switched out and when, although they were frequent occasions in which they would alternate by a certain number of drives. Critical moments threw any plans out the window and went with the proverbial ‘hot hand’.

“Without the rotation, you can come off the ball and know you are setting things up”, Dupree continued. “You might not win every one, but if you are in there you can make plays”. This is an important aspect that can get left out in a rotation over the course of a game. There is an individual chess match between a pass rusher and a lineman, and a good pass rusher can set up moves in the future by others that he takes early in the game.

“Going forward, not rotating is a great asset for guys like me, guys how need to get in a rhythm”, he said. That would be the ideal, after all, as though he did make some plays, he has not shown himself to be a player who can consistently get pressure on the quarterback on a play-to-play basis, which is what the Steelers need to see from him.

“I will come back this offseason, OTAs and minicamp and be ready to go and know I just have to work to get better”, he said. Of course, Dupree missed a good portion of the offeason, training camp, the preseason, and into the regular season after he had to have a procedure done to repair a sports hernia.

“I am going to go out and work hard and the sky is the limit for me”, he said of his future in 2017. “I am going to keep getting better and better each year…This past year I had a lot more confidence, being able to take my time and focus on myself, on my skills and craft. It’s going to be a great full year for me next season”.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Jeff McNeill

    Let’s hope for a double digit sack year.

  • Paul Rainey

    OLB rotation = more poor coaching decisions. Our coaching staff just can’t seem to evaluate or execute properly. The reason the Patriots take unheralded, underachieving players and make them overachievers is their coaching staff. Don’t set your expectations too high as long as this staff stays in place. Maybe get to the playoffs, maybe win one playoff game. Just reality talking.

  • Robert E Lil

    I used to just shake my head watching Casey Hampton run on and off and on and off the field all game. Game is totally over -managed

  • falconsaftey43

    So rotating a 37 year old Harrison in the early portion of the season (thus making him fresher for the playoffs when he played every snap) and slowly rotating Dupree back in after coming off core muscle surgery until he got his feet under him and then letting him play every snap through the end of the year and in the playoffs was poor coaching? What would you have rather seen them do?

  • Jacob

    I wonder if the rotation ever hindered Jarvis Jones’ progress. I know he had a lot of time to prove himself, but could he have been a better player if he wasn’t rotated in and out so much with Harrison?

  • Sam Clonch

    I’m sure he would have been “better”. I don’t think it would have been enough to turn him into a star that everyone hopes a 1st round pick will be.

  • WreckIess

    I don’t know if you’re trying to imply that the Patriots don’t use a rotation with their line backers, but If you are…man you really couldn’t be more off base lol. Can you guy stop please stop trying to reference the Patriots when you clearly don’t understand what they do? Nor do you guys even try to research it.

  • falconsaftey43

    But we didn’t win the AFCCG! The coaches coached that game. Therefore it’s their fault we didn’t win the game. I mean just look at the Patriots, their coaches coached the SAME game and they WON! Can’t argue with that logic, it’s bullet proof.

  • WreckIess

    I guarantee it did. I get why they did it in 2015. Harrison couldn’t play every snap and they needed to give Jarvis snaps to try to rest JH and try to show that he didn’t suck. They also wanted to slowly bring Dupree along and give Moats some PT because he was probably the 2nd best OLB we had at that point. All that came with a benefit, but it also came with a drawback. Dupree, for example, couldn’t get into a rhythm, but it also kept him fresher than what he would’ve been and he himself stated that he hit a wall even with the rotation.

    It sucked to have, but it was a necessary evil. This season, they need to let him play as many snaps as he possibly can while letting the rookie OLB rotate with Harrison and give Dupree the occasional breather. I think that’s the easiest way to let Dupree find his game, let Harrison stay fresh, yet engaged in the game, and also get the rookie a lot of experience while transitioning him into Harrison’s spot without overloading him.

  • VaDave

    Disagree. The reason we lost is we didn’t execute. Granted, it’s not a great matchup stylistically, but we had a good enough offense to ring up some significant scoring of our own. The conventional wisdom is that Brady beat us. Bull! We lost the game on the offensive side of the ball, and Brady doesn’t play defense. The Pats defense in reality is not that great, just good enough. Did you see what the Falcons did to that D?

  • falconsaftey43

    That was sarcasm, I thought it was painfully obvious.

  • VaDave

    My bad. You just never know around here when somebody is dead serious or not. LOL!! I hope I didn’t insult your intelligence.

  • falconsaftey43

    Haha, no offense taken. It happens. And you’re right, sometimes you hope it’s sarcasm, only to be saddened that they’re dead serious.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Yeah, everyone hates on the defense but forgets to mention that our offense only put up 9 points in the first three quarters.

  • The Truth


  • The Truth

    Rotating LBs hindering them from finding a groove is a poor coaching decision. Many times during crucial parts of the game Harrison sat on the bench in favor of the useless Jones. Yep, great coaching.

  • The Truth

    No, Jones was painfully useless.

  • HiVul

    You’re right, we should just never question anything the coaches do because they never make mistakes, and we have a better coaching staff than New England does.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I know most of us here really like Bud. Though on draft day, some people were a bit hesitant. I truly believe that this is a very crucial year for Dupree to justify his draft position. I also feel that a slight hedge with 2 OLB’s drafted, is the wisest and most prudent move we can make. I’m really rooting for Bud to explode. I like the guy a lot. But I won’t lie and say that I’m not a little bit nervous that he never puts it all together for some confounding reason. I think that he will, but a slice of that is no doubt based upon hope.

  • Kevin artis

    I agree with you. We had no choice but to rotate the OLB for the reason you stated. And I hope we do it again at least with James Harrison.

  • corduroyninja

    Joey Porter got us a big win over the Bengals, and Tomlin has made some nice tackles on kick returns, so I think our coaches are at least out out there trying. Kevin Colbert will probably punch in a TD from the 1 yard line this year, I know it.

  • walter