Tomlin Takes

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'Tomlin's Takes' hit on Bud, special teams

  • Getting it done: Bud Dupree continues to evolve into what the Steelers expected when they selected him with their No. 1 pick in 2015. Despite missing the first nine games of the season with an abdominal injury, Dupree finished the regular season with four and a half sacks, leading all AFC linebackers in that category during the month of December/January. Dupree added a half sack against the Dolphins last week and had six tackles and two quarterback pressures.  

"To his credit, and it's some frustrating moments particularly for a young player to stay engaged not only in terms of working his rehab, which is lonely work, but to stay engaged with the schematics week-in and week-out," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "To put himself in the very best position to get on the moving train that is the season and absorb the number of snaps he was able to quickly evolve to, is really a credit to him."

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Not so special:** The Steelers special teams unit has not been producing the way Tomlin would like, and having a player like Fitzgerald Toussaint in the concussion protocol, and special teamers Anthony Chickillo and Robert Golden on the injury report, doesn't help.

"We have to do a better job," said Tomlin. "We have not been special in special teams. A lot of it has to do with circumstances that are what they are. We have to put guys in better position to execute, and when we do they have to execute better than they have been executing. We're going to look hard at that this week. We haven't adjusted as fluidly to those circumstances as I would have liked, but we get another opportunity and we are thankful for that."

Leading the way: Stephon Tuitt has been called upon to be a leader on the defensive line with the absence of Cameron Heyward on the field, and while he has stepped up and done just that, Heyward has also aided him and the entire line while on injured reserve.

"He is a young man that number one has a lot of talent, but number two he works hard every day," said Tomlin of Tuitt. "I would be remiss if I didn't mention that he has followed the lead of Cam Heyward in that area since the day he got here. Cam has continued to be an asset to him and others in that way even though he is on IR. Cam is a great leader. He's presence is still felt even though he is not participating."

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