As it turns out, last week was a breaking point for Steelers rookie and former 'Cat standout Bud Dupree. After two less-than-stellar preseason games -- in which Dupree saw more defensive snaps (78) than anyone else on the Steelers' training camp roster, but mustered just a pair of tackles -- Dupree was ejected from a midweek practice for fighting two teammates in the same practice.
One of Dupree's practice fight opponents approved of his newfound fire, and many of us were excited to see if it would translate onto the field, and when. The answer? Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Although it was a preseason game, the Steelers' 24-19 victory over the Green Bay Packers yesterday was mostly keyed by the Steelers' suddenly monstrous pass rush, which amassed six total sacks. Dupree was arguably the figurehead of the pass rush, at least as far as yesterday was concerned. He was frequently in the backfield, finished with 2 tackles, a sack, a half sack that wasn't credited, assisted in James Harrison's end zone sack of GB QB Aaron Rodgers, which resulted in a safety, and was just generally disruptive. Dupree also had a sack that was nullified when teammate Cam Heyward was flagged for offsides on the play.
Numbers aside, the action in the tweet below was what pleased me most about Dupree's performance, because I saw it several times, and it allayed my greatest fear for him -- that he was going to be unable to get off NFL blocks.
We saw a the most explosive version of Bud Dupree yesterday. He suddenly realized that he could use his hands to his advantage, and translated his raw speed and athleticism into a number of very impressive football plays.
Dupree himself was pleased with his performance, as are fans and writers who'd previously been disappointed and skeptical of him. Check this out from Behind the Steel Curtain, which includes praise, as well as audio from Dupree himself.
The Steelers' fourth preseason game is in Buffalo next Saturday at 4 p.m. EST on NFL Network. Be sure to tune in to watch Dupree continue to grow.