Simply Steelers: Is Simpler Defense Helping Rookies Like Dupree?


The Steelers lost Dick LeBeau when the two sides decided to depart ways during this past offseason. And, with that they lost one of the most complicated drawn up defenses in the NFL.

It’s well known throughout the NFL that DLB’s defense is complicated – full of nuances and detail that is meant to confuse the opposing offenses, leading to opportunities for playmaking.

The downside is that it often confused defensive players unfamiliar with the system. Mainly rookies.

This correlation is what led to criticism of DLB and his system. A more complicated system deferred play time to veterans over rookies simply because they knew the system. They were comfortable playing in it.

While the younger, faster playmakers stood on the sideline.

It was frustrating to watch, and one can only imagine the amount of frustration from the younger players.

Newly minted defensive coordinator, Keith Butler, should be employing a much simpler defense even if he intends on adding some ‘wrinkles.’ A much more aggressive defense should take center stage.

It’s a defense that just might see not just a little but way more face time from the Steelers recent draft picks from the last few years.

Bud Dupree was interviewed during the OTA sessions this week, and it was posted on

"The first day was kind of fast for me and the rest of the rookies, but I feel like we are adjusting well and learning the plays on the go. I think I am adjusting fast to the playbook. I know a lot of it right now, but I want to keep on learning."

Dupree went on to discuss how he is enjoying the veteran presence of Jarvis Jones, James Harrison, and Arthur Moats. He also is soaking in all that he can of OLB coach Joey Porter.

If Dupree and others can get a strong handle on Butler’s defense, then they should be on the field more than on the sidelines.

Those younger, faster playmakers will be given more opportunities to do what they do best – make plays.

And that, should bode very well for an anemic pass rush that saw its lowest sack total in quite some time.

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