Bud Dupree: Steelers were surprised by Patriots offense

AP

The Steelers didn’t know what hit them in Foxboro on Sunday. Literally.

The first drive hit us by surprise,” linebacker Bud Dupree said Monday, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They came out firing and they caught us off guard. We were checking and they were checking at the same time. Hats off to that team. They had a great preparation.”

Dupree added that the Steelers were not expecting to see the no-huddle offense as much as they did.

“We didn’t really anticipate it like that,” Dupree said. “It was more in their approach to the no huddle, the checks they made right away. It was a great job by Tom Brady.”

Or it was not a great job of planning, preparation, and execution by the Pittsburgh defense.

As of last month, questions were being asked about New England’s reduced use of the no-huddle offense. Then came a Monday night game against the Ravens, during which the Patriots extensively employed a no-huddle approach to manhandle Pittsburgh’s top rival.

Regardless of whether the Steelers did or didn’t anticipate it, they failed to adapt to the circumstances. Coach Mike Tomlin admitted that it happened to the offense after the injury to Le’Veon Bell; it apparently also happened to the defense.

While Dupree surely didn’t intend to point a finger at coaching, his explanation points a finger generally toward a place where coaching is one of the reasons for the lack of preparation for a no-huddle attack and for the inability to adjust quickly on the fly to the tactics the Patriots were employing. Only so much of that failure can be blamed on execution; at some point, the quality of the coaching is called into question.

72 responses to “Bud Dupree: Steelers were surprised by Patriots offense

  1. Agreed. The Steelers don’t prepare that well defensively. They just throw the same scheme out there from 2001 and hope it works.

  2. Read between the lines. Tomlin and Dupree basically just said they weren’t prepared as well as the Patriots and were out coached and couldn’t adjust. Maybe Bradshaw was right.

    Time for some new coaches in Steeler country…..

  3. Tomlin might be a good cheerleader/motivator but his game-planning and in-game adjustments are terrible. Pittsburgh would have at least one or two more Super Bowl wins over the last decade if they had a better coach.

  4. I wonder why? In head to head games, they have an excellent record against you and they always put up points.

    They came into the game with the best record in the league this season, Brady was 2nd in passer rating to Ryan and he has a monster sized chip on his shoulder.

    If you were surprised by their offense, you clearly didn’t do your homework this week…..

  5. all about the current matchup on that Sunday, cannot believe how many times Belichick emphasizes this to the media and none of the other 31 head coaches seem to pay attention to it… fundamentals >>>> offensive/defensive philosophy

  6. Defensively and offensively, ‘the inability to adjust quickly on the fly’ is the hallmark of the Steelers. It has been since Cowher.

  7. My favorite “got out coached” moment was when Pitt had the ball first and goal 1 foot (not 1 yard but 1 foot) spot.

    After the whole “worst call in Super Bowl history” hot take everyone in the world knew it was going to be a run. Including the Patriots. The result was a loss of a yard. Now comes second down. The down that was publicly mocked. I knew Tomlin didn’t have the sack to pass like Seattle did so everyone (Including the Pats) knew this was also going to be a run. And a run it was and the result was a loss of 3 more yards. Jim Brown himself wouldn’t have gotten in on either of those carries.

    The public debate helped NE in that situation. Then on 3rd down instead of risking anything that could be Malcom Butler’ed they pass to the flat 4 yards shy of the enbdzone.

    That was the ball game IMO. Tail tucked up between their legs. Not prepared for the moment. To me that falls back on the coaching staff and team captains.

  8. I’ve said it for years now. Horrible record against sub .500 teams. Horrible special teams play. Seriously flawed game & clock management. Tomlin gets that “deer in the headlights” look during games and we go down in flames.
    Steeler fans, you will never see another SB ring with Tomlin at the helm. It’s just the way it is. Too bad, because we are literally wasting Ben’s prime years. Once he retires, we won’t see the SB for a LONG time. The fish rots from the head down. It starts with bad ownership and goes south from there. Admit you made a mistake and can Tomlin before it’s too late.

  9. There WILL come a time when fans start to realize that there is never a huge talent gap between NFL teams, especially the good ones. There could even be a case made that the Steelers have more INDIVIDUAL talent than the Pats. Compare WR’s, OL, DL, LB’s lRB’s In all those groups the Steelers had more of the “big names.

    Football is a game where the sum CAN be better than the inidividual parts because COACHING is such a critical part of the game. There wasn’t a talent gap in that gap in that game, but there WAS a coaching gap, and a big one.

    Eventualy even the haters are going to come to realize that the secret to the Pats consistent long term success is not cheating, but the fact that most of the time they are better prepared, with better game plans, are more unselfish than their opponents.

    They win because they work a bit harder and are better coached. Everyone who makes it to an NFL team is a great athlete. The lucky ones get to teams where they are coached well.

    BTW- I don’t think Tomlin is a “bad” coach, but just not one on BB’s level. He’s a great checker player, but BB is playing elite level chess

  10. Why is Belichick the only coach that switches it up depending on the opponent? It’s no wonder they are in their 7th Super Bowl. He’s unreal.

  11. they were clearly surprised. but worse than that, they made no in-game adjustments. of any sort. on either side of the ball. and that’s coaching.

  12. It must’ve been that one day head start that those A-holes had, right? Memo to Tomlin: Belichick is so many moves ahead of you, you could’ve had an extra year of preparation and it wouldn’t have mattered..

  13. Basically, he just called out coaching for lack of preparation. He’s probably right, but the Steelers have bad match up problems on the defensive side and it was pretty much a given that for the Steelers to win, they would have a great day on offense.

  14. SERIOUSLY?!? Maybe it’s time for the Steelers to stop ignoring the media. One hour of listening to sports talk radio last week would have prepared you better than your coaches did.

  15. Zone defense isn’t necessarily a problem. Seattle plays zone nearly every play and they gave us fits.

    The key is that you must be able to generate pressure with your 4 down linemen so that you can make the windows really tight.

    Pittsburgh checked out to a 2-deep zone and the seams were wide open for Hogan.

    Seattle plays a lot of single high safety and floods the short zones underneath. Forced Brady to hold the ball because the quick out and screens weren’t there and then the pressure got to him.

  16. When a player admits the team was ill prepared and outcoached, there is legitimately a problem. There is not an excuse for that in today’s NFL.

  17. Tomlin has proven time and time again that he is not a good coach when coaching against the higher level coaches.

    Look at his record against Bellichek the last 5 games he coached against him; look at his record against John Harbaugh (coach of the Ravens) the last 5 games.

    Tomlin won Super Bowls with Cowher players; but the only Cowher players left is Ben. The team is undisciplined and the players really don’t respect him or they wouldn’t be taking games off or video taping locker room meetings.

    It’s a shame that the Rooney’s are still stuck in a time warp where they don’t fire a coach who is clearly not at a championship level. Just wasting the final years of Big Ben.

  18. It was surprising that a 2-3 man rush sloppy zone would get you beat by Brady?! If this is true, every coach in that locker room needs fired because it surprised nobody else!

  19. I watched a lot of replays and Steelers defenders had no idea what to do when TB changed plays. Steelers offense was in panic mode from the start.
    I wonder if Steelers will be penalized for not letting the league know about Bells injury?

  20. Has this Pittsburgh team ever out-coached, out-strategized anyone?

    Really talented roster, only seems to live up to its potential when all the skill players are there together, comes up small in big games, inconsistent on the road.

    That sounds like a group of guys overachieving and counting on their top guys to win a footrace rather than a unit with a plan.

    Just as Manning should have had more rings with the Colts than the poor surrounding cast and timid coaching allowed, Ben & co. should have had more for similar reasons.

    In such a QB-focused sport, how can a team with Roethlisberger not have been to the SB in 8 years and counting?

  21. .
    The no huddle offense has been a staple of the Patriots since Brady took his first NFL snap. It’s one of their strengths. How could it surprise anyone?
    .

  22. The definition of insanity is repeating your past errors and expecting different results. Our 3 man rush and zone coverage on Brady borders more on incompetence
    then insanity, insanity can be dealt with but incompetence
    in the Steeler higher hierarchy ie Art Rooney is something we will have to live with.
    Dont ever expect the Steelers to beat New England in a playoff game EVER …
    Our coaches and owners are incompetent ..

  23. Was so obvious by 1st series that Steelers were not prepared.

    Their talent level strong…but I question their IQ…No way a safety stays w/Hogan.

    Pittsburgh thought that NE would dink them w/running backs vs. linebackers…..NOT….Dion Lewis was a very small part of game plan.

    Shame on Steelers….And they didn’t even need to defend Gronk.

  24. Yeah, anything and any excuse to avoid giving any credit to a team that executes its game plan better than the other team as well as dominating the other team in the trenches.

    Unsophisticated football fans tend to focus on this failure by one team over another, but the team that controls the line of scrimmage can dictate the flow of the game.

    If the Steelers dominated the line of scrimmage, no amount of No Huddle by Brady would have worked, pure and simple. After all, that is still Football 101.

  25. Does this shock anyone? Pitt doesn’t draft for IQ.

    Dupree is one trick pony and pretty much a bust, who is worthless other than tying to dive into the backfield on every down or rush the passer.

    Jarvis Jones is a true bust.

    Shazier is overrated as well, but his athleticism masks his low IQ and overrated status as well.

    Typical Baltimore or Pittsburgh or even NY Jets style player.

  26. It was so bad, they gave a 20 yard cushion to a fullback split wide left! Talk about running scared and clueless.

  27. I am perplexed. New England runs the SAME EXACT offense EVERY SINGLE TIME we play them. How in the world can you be caught off guard? Play man press at the line of scrimmage with safety help over top and blitz up the middle. Houston gave you the game plan. How can I see that and the coaching staff can’t? What am I missing?

  28. At this point… Tomlin is a rich man..with nothing to lose…the hood rat persona has been exposed for what it is…but he’s cashed in..Think he really cares?

  29. kevpft says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:57 AM
    ……………………………….

    In such a QB-focused sport, how can a team with Roethlisberger not have been to the SB in 8 years and counting?
    ————————————————-

    FWIW, the Steelers were in SB XLV, so less than 8 years. Since then the AFC QBs have been Brady, three times this year, Manning twice and Flacco once.

    Ravens were the only surprise hot team to make the Super Bowl for the AFC in that period.

  30. Of course Dupree was surprised. Did anyone expect Tomlin to actually have his team prepared to take on BB and the Patriots?

    Tomlin should not even be allowed to be in the same conversation as BB.

  31. Patriots fans had a good idea, hell NFL fans should have had an one. With our “meh” C- offensive game plan for Houston, you HAD TO EXPECT what was coming. I watched Hogan get wide open because of busted coverage all over the place. Unbelievable. No disrespect to Billy O’Brien, RAC, Vrabel, Izzo, and Vince. They had a beautiful game plan defensively, but Pittsburgh looked like the jets on xmas eve. We had “walk thru’s.” oh what?!

  32. I don’t think the no-huddle offense was the reason why every completed pass was to a WR with no one at least 5-yards around him. Just look at Hogan’s first TD and Edelman’s TD. I’ve never seen WR so open in the endzone!

  33. cheapseater says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:45 AM

    Why is Belichick the only coach that switches it up depending on the opponent? It’s no wonder they are in their 7th Super Bowl. He’s unreal.
    ———————————————————

    That is how you win in this era of salary cap. Make your players multi dimensional in terms of style and skill set.
    Prime example is Bennett and Gronk…they have to be linemen on occasions, and do it well. They have to be quick to line up for huddle or no huddle game (they were snapping ball with 20seconds on game clock). And they were changing pace with the huddle game. As soon as Brady confirmed their protection he audibled, and snapped the ball before Steelers knew what hit them.
    They are one of the few teams that can morph on the fly, especially after first half (like their last SB win against Seattle – Bennett was killing them, but second half, he was a non issue).
    Pats play calling is never vanilla like so many teams who go with virtually the same play call after play call hoping things get better, or have a coach (Andy Reid) too engrossed in play sheet to see what is happening on field. Belichek has two superb play callers. He ‘consults’ with them throughout the game. He is watching the game.
    Pats purposely throw in many wrinkles to see if the other team is smart. Usually they miss something, like Develin all alone…easiest first down he will ever get. Actually, that play summed it up. A guy who runs about as fast as Tom being a wide out.

  34. kevpft says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:57

    In such a QB-focused sport, how can a team with Roethlisberger not have been to the SB in 8 years and counting?

    15 1
    Report comment

    —————————–

    Probably because Brady and Manning went to 7 of those 8. Ben is good, really good, but not even in the same conversation as those two. The other guy was Flacco and from what I’ve been told he may be elite.

  35. cheapseater says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:45 AM

    Why is Belichick the only coach that switches it up depending on the opponent? It’s no wonder they are in their 7th Super Bowl. He’s unreal.
    —————————-

    Because apparently everyone else thinks that studying game film is cheating.

    Everyone else just trots out their standard offense and defense, and Bill probably knows it more than they do.

  36. cheapseater says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:45 AM

    Why is Belichick the only coach that switches it up depending on the opponent? It’s no wonder they are in their 7th Super Bowl. He’s unreal.
    —————————-

    Because apparently everyone else thinks that studying game film is cheating.

    Everyone else just trots out their standard offense and defense, and Bill probably knows it better than they do.

  37. The Patriots are completely fluid on both sides of the ball and can adapt their style of play to fit whatever that weeks game plan requires. The Patriots can beat you in anyway it requires.

    Pittsburgh and most teams for that matter can only win if they can dictate the style of play and play on their terms within their comfort zone.

    Chess and checkers.

  38. At some point, you’d think it would dawn upon the Steeler’s coaching staff and players that the game-plan they continue to use to prepare for the Patriots isn’t working.

    Is it wrong to ask this question of the Steelers: How bad do they want it?

  39. “The no huddle offense has been a staple of the Patriots since Brady took his first NFL snap. It’s one of their strengths. How could it surprise anyone?”

    Not really in 2001-2006 as much. I think it was 2007 Belichick went to visit Chip Kelly while he was still coaching college and incorporated chunks of his offense into the Pats that they really started using the no huddle as a staple.

    But since then its as often as not been the normal modus operandi for the Pats offense.

    And the Steelers are still running out that tired old Dick LeBeau defense that Belichick and Brady solved years ago. That’s the biggest problem. Especially since the people running it now aren’t as good as LeBeau.

  40. They should give Rex Ryan a call. His defense has had some success against the Patriots offense.

  41. But I thought Tomlin said they were ready for dey azz? It didn’t look like they were ready for dey azz at all. Mitchell said they never once practiced a flea-flicker, Dupree said they weren’t prepared for the hurry-up, which seems to contradict dey azz readiness. I’m stumped.

  42. Wasn’t it the Steelers, a couple of years ago, that said that they were going to be ready for Gronk, and then they left him completely uncovered?

  43. mmack66 says:
    Jan 24, 2017 11:56 AM
    cheapseater says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:45 AM

    Why is Belichick the only coach that switches it up depending on the opponent? It’s no wonder they are in their 7th Super Bowl. He’s unreal.
    —————————-

    Because apparently everyone else thinks that studying game film is cheating.

    Everyone else just trots out their standard offense and defense, and Bill probably knows it more than they do.

    He almost certainly does. This man has been in the NFL since the 60’s. He’s been on the coaching staffs of the some of some of the innovators that created the offenses that many teams run. Bill is not only a phenomenal coach and GM, but he’s also an amazing NFL historian. I just saw an interview where he diagrammed an old Navy play from the 50’s or 60’s, just from his head. He was sitting with the RB for that Navy team and the guy was blown away.

  44. As a Pats fan, I can tell you that the teams that give the Pats’ offense fits are the ones that employ press-man coverage, while getting pressure with only 4 down lineman.

  45. What do the other draft busts have to say? Are all the busts on the same page when it comes to explaining that embarassing beatdown? I’d be interested in hearing from other busts like Jarvis Jones and Shazier.

  46. patfanken says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:43 AM
    There WILL come a time when fans start to realize that there is never a huge talent gap between NFL teams, especially the good ones. There could even be a case made that the Steelers have more INDIVIDUAL talent than the Pats. Compare WR’s, OL, DL, LB’s lRB’s In all those groups the Steelers had more of the “big names.

    =======================================

    It’s actually a pretty easy case to make, the Steeler’s have like 4 or 5 Pro Bowlers this year, the Pats have 2. But, as you go on to say, it’s not entirely about talent, it’s about how well you’re coached, situational football, fundamentals etc…

    We’ve seen a very serious step back in quality of play in the NFL this year, and I think the problem is more with the recycling of garbage coaches, and the gap between them and the GREAT coaches. It’s very much like the issue with getting a franchise QB. There’s only so many to go around, but when you find him, you latch onto him for as long as you possibly can.

  47. Nice to see a player say they were out coached rather than the lame standard “filmed practice” “Spygate” “deflategate” “headsetgate” b.s. that most butt-hurt losing players, coaches, and talking heads espouse. If you want to beat the Patriots you have to outwork them and most teams won’t.

  48. Didn’t watch the game for two reasons. I hate the Patriots and I knew they would rinse the Steelers. But what surprised me about this is that the Steelers were surprised. As a fan of the Dolphins you are never surprised by what they do and as a professional player nor should you have been surprised. Even if you were and I have no reason to think you are telling lies you don’t say you were surprised because in my eyes that makes me think you were not prepared. Still if it’s any consolation it would not have mattered.

  49. The steelers probably weren’t sweating the Pats. According to Keith Butler, their passing gm is next to nothing without Gronk. According to Butler, a lot of stuff the Pats do is ‘borderline legal’. He was probably busy looking out for that. He sounds like a steeler fan boy. By the way, anyone heard from any of the usual suspects? Don’t worry, if the Pats lose the SBowl, they’ll be back. That will be their big victory.

  50. Bottom line: Tomlin’s coaching was downright pee-wee league. He’s really lost control of his team. Ben wanting to retire, Brown more concerned with social media, Joey Poter still employed, bad offensive and defensive plan for the Pats. Time for a change Mr. Rooney

  51. dallashomer says:
    Jan 24, 2017 10:46 AM
    Wow, MF seems pretty upset about his favorite team’s poor performance.

    But the Pats do this to everybody. Why blame Tomlin?
    *******************************************************

    There is truth to this statement….

  52. The result of this game was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. It was hilarious and ridiculous listening to Pittsburgh sports radio and tv analysts all week picking Pittsburgh and giving reason after reason why they were a better team than the Pats.
    What they failed to admit was the Steelers were extremely lucky to even make the playoffs. Without the “Christmas miracle” against the Ravens they were out. They were soundly beaten at home in that game without the mind boggling sequence of events that allowed them to steal a win from the better team. I was at that game and I’ll tell you that every Steeler fan said the same thing at the end of the game…”Can you believe we won that game?” The way the Ravens jammed the ball down their throats with 7 min left, taking 6 of the last 7 minutes to score the go ahead touchdown made it obvious which was the best team. What happened after that was a once in a lifetime Christmas miracle…..period.
    There were 2 reasons they had lost 7 of the previous 8 to the Ravens,,,coaching and toughness. The Ravens beat them physically in the trenches on both sides of the ball routinely although I have to acknowledge their offensive line has become much better in pass protection. But Tomlin is pathetic when it comes to preparing a game plan. he relies on exceptional performances by his 3 very skilled offensive players (Ben, Brown, and Bell).
    Of the 3, only Ben is a real football player. The other 2 are fancy flashes in the pan…..no physical or mental toughness. Jimmy Smith routinely shuts down Brown and when Ben is out Brown is less than average. Bell has yet to finish a season without injury. His style avoids contact at all costs and he is only effective if he finds open space. He gained 35 yards in the first game against the Ravens and had 30 until the miraculous 4th quarter in the second game (finished with 70). The way he punked out against NE says it all. He knew they had him figured out and sat down to let a real RB try and help the team. Williams did well behind a barely adequate offensive line.
    It is a certainty that as long as Harbaugh and Belichek are coaching against Tomlin, the Steelers can never go to another Super Bowl. If Belichek was coaching the Steelers they would have beaten the Pats. The failure to “bring the house” against Brady and play zone with a 4 man rush was just plain stupid. Rushing 4 was so ineffective that they would have been better dropping all 11 into coverage. Brady had all day to carve up that zone and won’t need to wash his uniform before the Super Bowl. It was nauseating hearing how the Steeler offensive line was one of the best in the NFL. This is the same ineffective line that has let them down for the last 3 years but now has learned how to pass protect. They can’t open a running lane to save their lives. That’s why Bell sits in the backfield all day hoping the defense commits and leaves a lane open for him. To his credit he is quick enough to find an open lane against an over committing defense. Next year every team they play will know how to stop him.
    The lack of mental and physical toughness of the Steelers (except for Ben, Harrison, Timmons and Heyward) will define their future.

  53. fwippel says:
    Jan 24, 2017 12:04 PM

    At some point, you’d think it would dawn upon the Steeler’s coaching staff and players that the game-plan they continue to use to prepare for the Patriots isn’t working.
    ————————————————————-
    I have a theory: Perhaps the Steelers players and coaches simply aren’t very smart?

  54. It sounds like he said the Patriots fooled them. The AFC champs were drooling at Pitt’s ineptitude. That reminds of a certain unaccountable stealer troll. Hmm…………….

  55. Watch the replay of the 2nd-down play near the goal line. Stop the video at the snap and you will see TWO DTs come thru UNTOUCHED. The OG & OT ignored the defensive alignment … the OG blocks inward and the OT blocks towards the outside, leaving an ENORMOUS gap between them. How could they not see that NE had TWO DTs lined up in the same gap they were about to create.
    We all know the result, two DTs came thru so fast they nearly grabbed the handoff before tackling the RB for a 3-yd loss. In that situation, the QB has to recognize that the play is DOOMED … either change the blocking scheme or check off to another play or call a Time Out.

  56. Being classy in defeat says a lot about this young man’s character. Good example for his teammates.

  57. If you’re going to attribute the Steelers loss to coaching, then go ahead and group the other 30 teams in there with Pittsburgh. It’s not like the Pats are suddenly in a super bowl because Pittsburgh has bad coaching. Look at this thing through a wider angle lens.

  58. Just as Manning should have had more rings with the Colts than the poor surrounding cast and timid coaching allowed, Ben & co. should have had more for similar reasons

    ======================================

    ridiculous statement. peyton manning was overrated thats why the colts didnt win more. he fell apart in the playoffs throwing multiple picks multiple times. manning legitimately had a half dozen hof caliber players surrounding him from 2002 on with freeney harrison saturday mathis reggie wayne and edgerrin james. his surrounding cast wasnt the problem he was. he was scared of the patriots for years and it showed.

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