Bud Dupree's approach to being a Tennessee Titan should be refreshing for fans who watched the team struggle in 2020 with its pass rush.
Dupree met with the local media via Zoom on Friday and one of the first statements he made was this: “Definitely I'm going to come out and play with my hair is on fire and try to help the program as much as I can creating pressure.”
The former University of Kentucky and Pittsburgh Steelers star had eight sacks in 11 games last season before suffering a torn ACL in December against Baltimore.
The Titans as a team had just 19 sacks all season, getting very little production from expensive free agents Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney – neither of whom had a sack last season in 13 combined games. Neither finished the year on the active roster, and they combined for just 24 total tackles while earning around $21 million between them.
So, the Titans were desperate for pass rush help and could not rely solely on the draft to get the upgrade they needed. That's where Dupree comes in – very eagerly to try and help remedy the situation.
“Multiple teams were involved but when my agent called, the Titans just all made sense from a team standpoint. I wanted to be on a winning team already,” Dupree said.
Of course, there is one caveat regarding Dupree and that is his health. Suffering a torn ACL so late in the season, it could be pushing it for him to return in time for the start of the season, much less training camp. But Dupree is confident that he will be healed and ready to make an impact for his new team.
“I'm coming back stronger than ever and continuingt to develop my game and keep my arrow pointed upward,” he said. “Definitely I'll be ready in camp; I'll be full speed. I'll be ready way before camp,and I'm excited about that.”
Dupree has been working out and doing his rehab in Arizona as he works on getting healthy for the start of the 2021 season with his new team over the next few months.
“The number one thing now is to make sure that I'm healthy,” he said. “After that, I'm trying to come in and make sure I'm in the playbook and to be all in.”
Dupree hopes that he and his new defensive teammates mesh well together and can elevate a defense that struggled, even as the offense carried the Titans to an 11-5 record.
“On this team we're going to make 11 lead dogs on defense. We'll instill this into everybody and make sure everybody is on the same page,” he said.