Don’t be surprised when you look up, and it’s Week 10 or 11, and everyone’s talking about how great this Tennessee Titans defense is. Don’t be surprised if the topics of conversation are how they’re getting to the quarterback at a much higher rate than they did in 2020 and how great they look at defending the pass.
Remember stories like this one when you get to the playoff push and those are the overwhelming narratives. Then, remember that Titan Sized was the first brand dedicated exclusively to content about the two-tone blue that told you so.
How do we know this you ask? It’s simple. It’s because fans and the media have undervalued this team and so many of the people that play on it, so when these guys pop, and so many do so at the same time, it’s going to be one heck of a mixture.
Watch what happens when Kristian Fulton bounces back in year two, and everyone finds out that Caleb Farley is completely healthy and was a steal for the Tennessee Titans at 22, and that Bud Dupree and Denico Autry were two of the best acquisitions by any team during the most recent offseason. Remember that it was Titan Sized that told you so.
Tennessee Titans fans won’t like how Bud Dupree has been disrespected.
All of that was said to say this. Here’s the proof of some of those theories. Recently, the stat gurus over at Pro Football Focus ranked the top 32 EDGE defenders in the NFL. One of the newer Titans, Mr. Dupree, landed at 27. Okay, that’s a tad low isn’t it? For an explanation, we go to the source, and here’s what Ben Linsey, the writer of this one had to say on the subject.
"Dupree’s high-end athleticism and motor were starting to lead to improved play toward the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh. He recorded at least 40 pressures in each of his final four seasons with the team, including a career-high 77.7 PFF grade in 2019.The reason that the PFF grades for Dupree have been lower than his production throughout much of his career is that a high percentage of Dupree’s pressures came in the cleanup and unblocked variety, a product partially of the talent around him. His 45 cleanup pressures since 2018 are the most in the league. It will be interesting to see how that translates to Tennessee."
First of all, let’s say this. Ben Linsey is a guy that knows what he’s talking about. PFF doesn’t ask him to do this stuff for no reason, but while he makes good points in this one including “a high percentage of Dupree’s pressures came in the cleanup and unblocked variety, a product partially (due to) the talent around him”, there’s also this to consider.
Yes, Dupree benefited from having guys like T.J. Watt around. Nobody will deny that, but Watt was equally as fortunate to have Dupree around as well. That one doesn’t get talked about as much.
After Dupree tore his ACL tear in Week 12, Watt wasn’t getting to the quarterback as often as he did from Week 1 to Week 11. Both benefitted from each other, and now, that he’s joined a defense that features the aforementioned Autry as well as guys like Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry III, and Jayon Brown, Dupree is set up to have a monster year because defenses can’t key in on any one of these guys.
Playing in football’s best college football conference, the SEC, Bud Dupree notched 247 total tackles in four seasons at Kentucky. 146 were of the solo variety, and 39.5 resulted in a loss of yardage. Add that to 25.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, five pass breakups, and an interception.
He then went to the Pittsburgh Steelers and tallied 256 stops and 40 sacks from 2015 to 2020 (if you include his playoff numbers). It appears that what we saw at the collegiate level translated fairly well to the pros. There’s no reason to believe that his skills won’t translate just because he’s moving from Pittsburgh to Nashville.
If you’re a Tennessee Titans fan, add this to those other cards you’re keeping in your back pocket. People aren’t expecting much from Dupree. That’s fine. Let them doubt. It’s the two-tone blue that will have the last laugh by the time we all reach January. You can count on that.