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Upshaw in a Contract Year: Better Pass Rush Necessary

With Courtney Upshaw in a contract year, the OLB is hoping to rack up the sack total

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Through the previous years Courtney Upshaw has been one of the toughest run stuffing line-backers around. The edge-setting backer has also been swapping out on third downs frequently for Elvis Dumervil to speed around right tackles and accumulate massive sack totals. Upshaw this year is hoping though to become a dual-threat three down back and put up big sack numbers, especially knowing this is the contract year to do it.

Three years in the league and Courtney just hasn't become the OLB we all are dreaming of. While massive at 6' tall and 272 lbs this hulking backer has the power to even flip a car, but the pass rush technique hasn't developed; at least not yet. Through the first three years of his NFL career Upshaw has only totaled 6 sacks, 2 every year. Now Courtney has been a hard hitting run stop pro, and vital to shutting down run games and then leaving on third down to allow edge setting speedster Elvis fly in and hit quarterbacks over 30 times in the previous 2 years. These third downs mainly coming on larger distances equate towards obvious passing situations allowing Dumervil's tactical speed rush and shoulder drop technique to haul down quarterbacks 21 times in 2014 alone. With two of the best pass rush players in the NFL (Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumvervil) Upshaw hasn't been able to snag much pass rush time, but hopes to manage business this season by racking in all the numbers possible.

Will Courtney be hauling down QB's this season? I sure hope so. I don't believe he'll be reaping double digit sack totals but if #91 sees this and proves me wrong by all means rub it in my face.