In the first part of this series we looked at Bud Dupree’s stats from 2019, and focused a lot on his pressure generation and the percentage of pressure that generated contact with the QB. In this part of the series we are going to look at 8 of the 11.5 sacks that Bud Dupree got credit for, and see what we can learn about his game from it. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump right into it.
Showing his speed
The Bengals took an early lead in week 4, and after the Steelers were able to get on the board with a James Conner TD in the second quarter the Bengals responded by driving down the field, gaining 57 yards before this first down drive killer by Bud Dupree.
Week 4, 2nd quarter, 5:54, 1st and 10. Dupree is on the line, top of the screen.
Bud Dupree blows past the tackle off the snap, but unlike previous seasons he is able to turn the corner and record a sack. He does a good job of getting his arm under the tackles outside shoulder and ripping past, and while it isn’t a great turn, it is an effective one. Going over the top for the strip is a great move, and one of Dupree’s four forced fumbles on the season. The best part about this sack is how quick Dupree got to the QB, Dalton gets his drop, but no time to progress through reads before the ball is punched out.
In week 5 the Steelers ended up forcing overtime against the red-hot Baltimore Ravens. Tomlin gave the Ravens the ball to start overtime, an incredibly risky call when facing the NFL’s best offense.
Week 5, Overtime, 9:22, 2nd and 11. Dupree is on the line, top of the screen.
After a first down run for a loss, T.J. Watt puts Lamar Jackson in run mode, but Bud Dupree shows one of the more consistent skills of his career, filling Lamar Jackson’s escape routes before running him down to set up a very long 3rd down. While the Steelers would end up losing the game, Dupree’s containment of Lamar Jackson and speed to finish the sack gave the team a chance to win.
The Steelers faced the 5-2 Colts in week 9, looking to win and get back to .500. With the game scoreless the Colts have a second and 10 on the Steelers 10 yard line. They would end up settling for a FG.
Week 9, 1st quarter, 8:27, 2nd and 10. Dupree is on the line, right side of the screen
Dupree starts with a power move, knocking the tackle back 2 yards before rushing around him. Jacoby Brissett is used to running away from pass rushers, but running away from Bud Dupree doesn’t work out for many people, and Dupree drags him down for a sack. The big push from Dupree here sets up a tighter angle for him to turn the corner with a rip move. Note when he plants his right foot on the 20 yard line and bursts straight at Brissett. Dupree showed this season that he can put his power and speed together in his rush.
The Colts would start the second half up 3 points, and decide to go for it on a 4th down on their opening drive.
Week 9, 3rd quarter, 10:49, 4th and 4. Bud Dupree is on the line, right side of the screen.
Here Dupree sort of jumps into the tackle as he absorbs the punch, but it works. The tackle ends up higher than Dupree and when Dupree’s right foot lands he powers under his blocker’s arm and is able to swat the ball away from the QB, sealing a turnover on downs no matter if it is ruled a pass or fumble. This isn’t how you teach pass rush, but it worked. taking proper technique (like how he executes after his right foot lands) and finding creative ways to use it can often catch an opponent off guard. PFF says Anthony Castonzo gave up 3 sacks in 2019, Bud Dupree beat him for two sacks in week 9.
Putting a positive spin on it
I tore into Bud Dupree in the preseason for using a spin move without any contact from his blocker, mocked him pretty hard for that. So when he used that exact move to get a sack against the Browns, I have to show it.
Week 13, 3rd quarter, 4:59, 2nd and 20. Bud Dupree is on the line, to the left on screen.
Here, Bud Dupree times up the tackle’s punch and spins off of it beautifully. Even with the guard there to stop his path to Baker Mayfield it wrecks the play as Mayfield abandons the pocket. Dupree’s motor leads him back to the ball where he forces a fumble. It may look silly when it fails, but you can see how quickly it destroys a play when it works.
This move matters because tackles learned to get a punch on Dupree early this season because he can turn the corner now, and also turn an initial power move into a move around the corner, so blockers started attacking Dupree instead of waiting for him like they used to.
Week 16, 3rd quarter, 7:14, 3rd and 9. Dupree is to the right of the screen.
The tackle lands the initial punch on Dupree, winning first contact. Dupree responds by driving hard upfield, but as the tackle goes to throw him out of the play, he spins back inside and closes Sam Darnold’s escape lane for a sack.
This is Bud Dupree getting a sack on a second move. His up field rush was stopped twice, but he countered it and still got the sack. It wasn’t a pretty sack, but it shows Bud Dupree’s growth as a pass rusher that he can lose first contact, have his planned rush taken away, and still stay active and dangerous in the play. That’s big.
Rushing smarter, not harder
Week 12, 4th quarter, 2:47, 2nd and 2. Bud Dupree is on the left side of the screen, partly hidden behind the goal post.
Dupree starts with a step inside, before bursting around the outside of the tackle. The tackle’s momentum is largely stopped when Dupree makes his move, and Dupree is able to slap his outside hand down, plant his right foot and power through the tackle with his elite explosiveness. Watch Dupree’s feet, he is moving upfield until his foot plants on the 20 yard line and he flattens his rush almost entirely, going right at the QB. Dupree getting the tackle’s momentum to nearly stop before turning the corner is big, it worked earlier in this article with a big shove, here he does it with misdirection. The days of Bud Dupree trying to outrun tackles while they dropped as fast and as hard as they could are over. Take a moment, let that sink in.
Week 14, 1st quarter, 1:46, 3rd and 6. Dupree is on the line, left side of the screen.
Looks unimpressive here, Dupree just jogs up the arc, the push is a stalemate, but the tackle slips, Murray decides to run and Dupree wraps him up. You kind of wonder what Bud Dupree is doing at the start of the rush. Well, take a look at the all-22 film.
In this angle, Bud Dupree is to the bottom of the screen.
Watch the RB coming out into the flat, and watch how Dupree jumps right into the path of any pass that way immediately after. From the time the RB moves outside of Dupree until Murray is sacked, Bud Dupree is in the passing lane to the RB, who is otherwise uncovered. Then watch the crosses in the middle. With Dupree sealing the pass to the flat, there is an extra defender in the area as the play develops, and there is nothing there. Dupree is helps the coverage by taking the RB away, contains a dangerous running QB and ends up getting the sack on this play. Dupree didn’t drop back into coverage nearly as much this season, but he did the same thing he does on this play a lot.
He is often visibly reading the RB, the QB, the overall play before committing to rushing, several of the plays earlier in this post he does it. That’s one of the reasons the Steelers were the best in the league on outside runs to his side, and also one of the reasons he didn’t create as much pressure as other edge rushers. T.J. Watt was rushing more aggressively than Dupree, he had far fewer plays where you see him reading the play first like Dupree does, and the Steelers were wise to do it like that, T.J. Watt is one of the most dangerous rushers in the NFL, let him go full tilt and create havoc. Bud Dupree isn’t that guy, he’s much better at containing plays and stopping the run. But this past season he showed he can play his game and also be an effective pass rusher, and that’s why he’s going to get paid like a top pass rusher, and if he continues to play at this level, he’ll be worth it.
In the third, and final, part of this series we’ll look at Bud Dupree’s film as a run defender.