The Pittsburgh Steelers are now beginning to prepare for their third preseason game of 2017 and that Saturday night game at Heinz Field against the Indianapolis Colts should include several starters playing an extensive amount of time. Will outside linebacker Bud Dupree be one of them? We’re unlikely to know for sure until right before kickoff, but early signs are pointing to that ultimately being the case, however.
On Monday, Dupree, who has sat out the Steelers first two preseason games with an undisclosed injury, said he expects to make his 2017 debut Saturday against the Colts, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“I just want to make sure I am all good,” said Dupree, who added that he expects to practice this week. “Just missing all those games last year is something I don’t want to go through again.”
Dupree, who started the 2016 regular season on the Steelers Reserve/Injured list with the designated to return classification reportedly due to a groin injury, ultimately didn’t see his first action last year until Week 11. The former first-round draft pick out of Kentucky went on to register 4.5 sacks in the final seven regular season games and added another half sack during the playoffs.
Following the Steelers first preseason game against the New York Giants, outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was asked about Dupree’s status during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio.
“I know what Bud is so the pressure isn’t there,” Porter said of Dupree’s missed time so far during training camp practices and the preseason. “I just still want him on the grass so he can grow with his guys. We’ve got some new interior guys that we’ve got to run games with – [defensive end] Tyson Alualu, I like him, I think he’s going to help our defense, so you’ve got to get the timing with these guys.
“So, if you can’t be out there to get the timing, you’re going to be off-step a little bit and you always want to get the timing with the guys you’re working with and every day he’s missing, we’re not getting that. And it’s not a big thing because I know we’re going to get him back and I know what Bud is, but I still need him to get on the grass as soon as he can.”
Through the Steelers first two preseason games, the team’s outside linebackers have been productive when it comes to that position group getting sacks. In fact, 9 of the team’s 11 total sacks so far during the preseason have been registered by outside linebackers as veteran Arthur Moats, rookie T.J. Watt and second-year player Farrington Huguenin combined for six of them in the preseason opener. Additionally, Huguenin and third-year outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo had a combined three sacks in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.
If things go as planned on Saturday, we should see Dupree, and perhaps even veteran James Harrison, both attempting to join their outside linebacker counterparts in the sack column against the Colts.