It is July, which means football is right around the corner. July 27th the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe, PA for another training camp. Although we still have a few weeks of the “dog days” of the NFL offseason, it doesn’t mean there isn’t news to still be discussed.
We take you around the world wide web to give you your daily dose of black and gold, along with making BTSC your one-stop-shop for all things Steelers.
The Steelers have had plenty of great outside linebackers over the years. They think their next one will be Bud Dupree.
A first-round pick in 2015, Dupree’s second season was marred by a groin injury suffered during offseason workouts. This year, he’s healthy and on track (the team hopes) for a huge season.
“I’m all with it,” Dupree said during the offseason workouts, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I like the pressure, but there really isn’t any pressure for me. It’s expectations. People expect me to be the guy, and they see a lot of good things in me.”
One of the team’s current great inside linebackers agrees.
“I definitely feel like [Dupree] can be a huge difference-maker for us,” Ryan Shazier said, according to Rutter. “He’s a big, huge guy. You’re not going to be able to run the ball on him. He’s going to keep his leverage so he can make plays. He brings a lot of things to the table that we didn’t have before. . . .
“It’s just good to see him healthy. Last year, he wasn’t really that way. Jumping on the train during the season is kind of hard. I know it was tough on him because I’ve had to do it a few times, going back and forth, back and forth.”
Last year, Dupree didn’t play until November. He arrived with a flourish, notching 2.5 sacks against the Browns. He finished the year with 4.5 sacks, second on the team to James Harrison’s five.
The fact that no Steelers player had more than five sacks last year is a bit of an eye-opener, and it helps explain why they hope Dupree can get it done in 2017. For now, like most players, he’s 100 percent. But we know that will change for most if not all players as the season unfolds.
The question is whether Dupree can stay healthy enough to do for 16 games what he did in only seven last year — and then some.
Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC, five current NFL players will take on five former NFL players on Celebrity Family Feud.
The current players include Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, Browns tackle Joe Thomas, and Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The team of former players, all Hall of Famers, consists of running back Marshall Faulk, receiver Andre Reed, tackle Anthony Muñoz, linebacker Derrick Brooks, and defensive back Rod Woodson.
They’ll be squaring off for up to $25,000 (c’mon, ABC; this isn’t 1976) that will go to charity. The current players will donate winnings to Professional Athletes Foundation, and the former players are playing for Active Minds.
Daniel McCullers shed some pounds over the past offseason. But that doesn't mean he isn't feeling the weight of pressure applied by his position coach.
The Steelers' big defensive tackle is entering his fourth pro season without any guarantees of a roster spot after largely failing to assert himself since being drafted in 2014.
“Dan McCullers, he's got to grow up,” Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell in a video posted on the team's official website. “It's time to make a move right now. This is going to be his fourth year. And usually in this league, after about four years, you have got to make a move. Or, either, you move somewhere else.”
That “somewhere else” could be a destination after the coming season, when McCullers' contract expires. Or it could be as early as this fall should he fail to secure a spot on the 53-man roster during training camp.
That would appear to be far from a sure thing for the 352-pound McCullers after he was bypassed for first-team reps during organized team activities and minicamp in favor of L.T. Walton, according to multiple Steelers defensive linemen. Walton is, by trade, an end. The gig with the first-teamers was open because of an injury to starter Javon Hargrave.
“We've got a deep, deep D-line,” McCullers said. “A lot of guys who can play, run around, a lot of good guys. So I am gonna try to do my best to stand out … All the reps that you can get, the better. It doesn't matter if it's first-team or second-team or third-team. You just want to prove yourself and show the coaches you can play.”