Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley made it clear in June that wants to score 30 points per game. He believes it’s a realistic goal for a unit that features Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown. His offense might need to do exactly that if the Steelers want to make a run into late January.
That’s because of how things are shaking out on the other side of the line of scrimmage. On defense, the Steelers are looking suspect with a young, unproven secondary. And, on Sunday, they took a hit when the they placed 2015 first-round pick Bud Dupree, a pass-rushing linebacker, on injured reserve.
But, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Dupree could still return later this season. He’d be eligible to return after eight weeks.
#Steelers LB Bud Dupree is having surgery to fix a core muscle tear, source said. Return midsession (IR/to return) is possible if goes well
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 4, 2016
Regardless of when (or if) Dupree returns, that’s a bad loss. In Dupree’s rookie season, which included five starts, he notched four sacks. The Steelers were depending on Dupree developing into an every-down threat so that they wouldn’t be forced to rely as heavily on the blitz to generate pressure. After all, manufacturing constant pressure without blitzing is the best way to help a young secondary.
Dupree wasn’t at that level yet, but he had the potential to turn the corner this season.
According to ESPN, Dupree lost close to 20 pounds this offseason. That might not matter much, anymore.
As CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson wrote in a piece on the Steelers’ improving defense, “Dupree’s raw athleticism can take your breath away but he’s still learning the position.” Missing half or an entire season won’t allow Dupree to learn the nuances of the position.
In Dupree’s absence, Arthur Moats will be forced to start. Moats has posted back-to-back four-sack seasons, but again, he just doesn’t boast the same sort of potential as Dupree.
Source: CBS Sports / Steelers place 2015 first-round pick Bud Dupree on injured reserve