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Thread: Dwyer, Clay hope to seize opportunity

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    Dwyer, Clay hope to seize opportunity

    Per Steelers.com.................

    Dwyer, Clay hope to seize opportunity

    Posted 6 hours ago
    Teresa Varley Steelers.com



    If there is one thing Jonathan Dwyer learned last season it’s when opportunity knocks, you need to take advantage of it.

    Dwyer, who was inactive for the Steelers first four games of the regular season last year, saw action against Tennessee week five when Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore were both injured. He responded with 11 carries for 107 yards, the team’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, and a 76-yard touchdown run.

    Mendenhall is a spectator once again, missing OTAs and mini-camp, and also expected to miss training camp and possibly the beginning of the season after suffering an ACL injury in the regular season finale against the Browns last year. Isaac Redman appears to be the odds on favorite to start when the season opens if Mendenhall can’t, but Dwyer, along with John Clay, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey, will all be pushing for significant playing time.

    “I am approaching it with the mindset of it’s an opportunity,” said Dwyer. “You have to learn as much as you can, work hard and prepare yourself for whatever your role may be. I am getting better each and every day. I understand the playbook better and the concepts of each play. I am trying to improve every day, and push myself and each other every day. I am prepared for everything that comes my way, whether it’s starting, being the back-up, whatever.”

    Clay also understands that this could be a perfect time for him to step away from the pack and show the coaching staff what he is capable of. Clay had limited opportunities last year, spending the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad, but was activated in late December and scored on a 10-yard touchdown run against the St. Louis Rams in his first NFL game.

    “There is an opportunity,” said Clay. “I have to prove it out here, show the coaches I am capable and willing to do anything I need to do to get out on the field. I just have to work on the little details, making sure when I do get my block that I have confidence that I got it, that I am not second guessing that this is or isn’t my man. I have to show them that and produce every time I get the chance to run with the ball.”

    After getting that taste of playing in the NFL, Clay said he is willing to do whatever is asked of him in the offense, with his hope to become a complete back that can provide key yardage on first or third down or catch a pass out of the backfield.

    “You get the taste of it and you don’t want to give it back,” said Clay. “It’s a goal and dream I always had to play in the NFL. Scoring a touchdown I got to do that. I am just looking forward to pursuing my goal, my dream. I want to do more.”

    Dwyer is feeling the same way. After his performance against Tennessee he saw limited action the rest of the season and was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 8 with a foot injury.

    “It makes the hunger greater,” said Dwyer. “You get a taste of something and you want more of it, especially if it’s something you love and desire to do. I want to keep working and do the best I can and help myself be the best person and player I can be.”

    The third-year player learned a lot about himself and what it takes to be a professional. He reported to camp last season admittedly out of shape after the lockout, but knows that can’t happen again.

    “I have become more mature and understand the business aspect of it more, becoming a pro, taking care of my body and being in shape,” said Dwyer. “I am trying to take care of that. I am not in my best shape yet, but I am doing extra things. I am making sure I put extra time into helping myself, by doing that it’s going to help me. I feel better than where I was last year and in a better situation going into camp.

    “I punished myself and hurt myself and the team last year. The people here have high expectations for me and I have high expectations for myself. I want to help get us to New Orleans and win a championship. I want to put myself in the best situation to help myself and the team as well. I need to do what I am doing now and more, put more time in, eat right, do extra workouts, take care of my body and study. I know if I take care of those things God will take care of the rest.”

    Clay is also taking advantage of this offseason to get in shape. With the lockout last year he went into training camp not knowing fully what to expect. With the offseason program this year, it’s a whole new ballgame and he is hoping it pays dividends.

    “Experiencing an offseason this year is much better,” said Clay. “It motivated me to get myself in the best shape I can, get ready to come in and run right away.”









    With a newly re-vamped line and new running schemes, these two guys could indeed contribute this year.

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    If Mendenhall were healthy, I likely wouldn't keep either of these guys (I'd prefer Mendenhall, Redman, Batch, Rainey, and Will Johnson as a fullback). Dwyer seemed to have promise coming out of Ga Tech (I was admittedly excited when he fell to us in round 6...I would have actually drafted him earlier), but it's simply not a good sign for a skill position player in a professional sport to not be able to keep himself in shape year-round (OL and DL with pot bellies are one thing, but if you are a RB with a pot, you better have remarkable feet like the Bus, and Dwyer ain't anywhere close to that level). And Clay just looks slow to me (reminds me of a Ron Dayne like relic...not a fan of big lumbering Badger RB's in today's NFL). Mendenhall and Redman are much better all-around backs and Batch and Rainey are much more dynamic athletes who seem to fit our new offense better. As it stands now, though, these two guys may be battling each other for a roster spot (but may not make it through the end of October if Mendenhall is ready to return from the PUP by then).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    If Mendenhall were healthy, I likely wouldn't keep either of these guys (I'd prefer Mendenhall, Redman, Batch, Rainey, and Will Johnson as a fullback). Dwyer seemed to have promise coming out of Ga Tech (I was admittedly excited when he fell to us in round 6...I would have actually drafted him earlier), but it's simply not a good sign for a skill position player in a professional sport to not be able to keep himself in shape year-round (OL and DL with pot bellies are one thing, but if you are a RB with a pot, you better have remarkable feet like the Bus, and Dwyer ain't anywhere close to that level). And Clay just looks slow to me (reminds me of a Ron Dayne like relic...not a fan of big lumbering Badger RB's in today's NFL). Mendenhall and Redman are much better all-around backs and Batch and Rainey are much more dynamic athletes who seem to fit our new offense better. As it stands now, though, these two guys may be battling each other for a roster spot (but may not make it through the end of October if Mendenhall is ready to return from the PUP by then).
    I was thinking I might be the only one not big on Dwyer or Clay.

    I'd love to see Batch and Rainey pass them on the depth chart quickly.

    The thing about RBs though is you never know when one will get hurt. So we're gonna be forced to keep one if not both of them around. Ugh.

    Although I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by Dwyer when he got real playing time. He played better than my expectations. Unlike you, I wasn't ever a fan of drafting him

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    Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Competition: RB John Clay vs. RB Jonathan Dwyer

    by Neal Coolong on Jun 29, 2012



    We highlighted the speed backs Thursday, with Baron Batch and Chris Rainey squaring off.

    Now it's time for the larger horses to bump noses.

    Jonathan Dwyer, listed at 229 (some say that's a bit light) and John Clay, listed at 248, both got carries last year. Dwyer's highlight being a 79-yarder he broke off against Tennessee, and Clay's being a solid 10-carry effort against St. Louis. They stand apart due to that experience, even for as slight as it may be in comparison to the two prize guys, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman.

    The issue is weight.

    Dwyer's been ripped for his apparent weight issues, even admitting he "messed up" when speaking to Time-Online reporter Mike Bires in August, 2011.

    But the expectations for Dwyer have been high, which is perhaps why he's dedicating himself more to getting into shape.

    Clay didn't look as big as he is when he was running last season, which is a good sign. He's as green as Batch and Rainey, though, and wouldn't have played last season if not for an injury to Mewelde Moore. Then Mendenhall. Eventually Dwyer went down as well.

    The paradox with the group is their size, without question. However, the main issue with back-up running backs is how they define themselves as blockers. Sub package backs not only need to be willing to block, but must be able. It's not all about size, and it's not all about a guy's desire to get in there and lower the boom on a blitzer.

    Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley's past suggests the running backs should all prepared to be as versatile as possible if they want to make the roster; carrying, running, cutting, catching and blocking. For Clay and Dwyer, they've shown at least some ability to carry the ball successfully at this level. To round out the unit as a whole, they have to set themselves apart as pass catchers and blockers.

    It looks like there are six running backs competing for four positions. Mendenhall and Redman are locks, so the remaining four will fight for the remaining two spots. Each of them have something making them unique. Dwyer has experience, Clay has size, Rainey has special teams ability and Batch has skill and desire to block. Not that any of them don't possess any other traits, but heading into training camp, those are the attributes defining them.

    Dwyer must come into camp in tip-top shape. Clay will have to improve his all around game. This is mostly because of the versatility Batch and Rainey have.

    Dwyer is also the one without any practice squad eligibility. That is something that could end up playing in his favor.

    We could mix the four of these guys backward and forward, and come up with a different decision.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...ohn-clay-vs-rb

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    Formerly fat, Steelers’ Jonathan Dwyer shapes up
    Posted by Michael David Smith on July 2, 2012, 8:53 AM EDT

    Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer isn’t fat anymore, and that could be big news for the backfield in Pittsburgh.

    Weight problems have plagued Dwyer since before he was in the NFL: He showed up out of shape at the 2010 Scouting Combine and slipped to the sixth round of the draft, and he showed up overweight at training camp last year and failed the team’s conditioning test. That’s part of the reason Dwyer has been limited to just eight games and 25 carries in two NFL seasons.

    But Dwyer says he has lost 20 pounds from his high of 240 and is in better shape, and that with starting running back Rashard Mendenhall likely to miss the start of the season with a torn ACL, Dwyer is ready to play a significant part in the Steelers’ offense.

    “I am just realizing how much it takes to get where you are in this league and how hard you have to work and push yourself,” Dwyer told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “This is my year to prove something to myself, the league, to the organization, that I am worth more than what I was.”

    Dwyer, who is No. 2 on the depth chart behind Isaac Redman while Mendenhall is down, says he’ll be ready for as many carries as the Steelers give him this year.

    “I know if I come in at the weight I am supposed to be, I will be OK,” Dwyer said. “It is not anybody else’s responsibility to come into camp in shape. It is mine.”

    With Mendenhall down, the Steelers need Dwyer to be in shape and ready for a lot of carries from Day One.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...yer-shapes-up/

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    I just read that article RB, that's good news as far as I'm concerned. He just might surprise us this season. Besides, since with our new golf coach calling the shots on offense and ignoring Ben with his yinzer running game, we need all the healthy, in-shape RB's we can find.

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    Different type runners but I'm much more excited to see what Batch can do than Dwyer. It'd be great if Dwyer came in and surprised since they will need him with the RM injury but it's always been disappointing that a 6th round draft choice treated his opportunity as if he just had to show up to make the team. Dude treated the off season as if he was Casey Hampton putting on weight to take on lineman instead of needing to run fast. Head scratching stupidity.

    Clay is the odd man out. Dwyer has no PS eligibility, there's no way Rainey goes to the PS (I think unless something crazy happens he's a lock) and if Batch's knee is good; I think he'd get grabbed off the PS quickly as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
    Different type runners but I'm much more excited to see what Batch can do than Dwyer. It'd be great if Dwyer came in and surprised since they will need him with the RM injury but it's always been disappointing that a 6th round draft choice treated his opportunity as if he just had to show up to make the team. Dude treated the off season as if he was Casey Hampton putting on weight to take on lineman instead of needing to run fast. Head scratching stupidity.

    Clay is the odd man out. Dwyer has no PS eligibility, there's no way Rainey goes to the PS (I think unless something crazy happens he's a lock) and if Batch's knee is good; I think he'd get grabbed off the PS quickly as well.
    I agre. Clay goes to the PS. They won't lose Dwyer for Clay unless Clay blows them away in camp.
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  9. #9
    Just read this article on Dwyer.

    http://triblive.com/sports/2101567-8...isaac-jonathan

    Without posting the whole thing, the thing that stuck out for me is that he will be going to the same training facility as Forte, MJD, McCoy, Stewart, Gore, and Bradshaw. If this kid finally sees the value in training and being in shape then we have to begin evaluating him all over again because he could become a brand new player - the one who was rated as one of the top backs prior to his combine when he came in overweight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o. View Post
    Just read this article on Dwyer.

    http://triblive.com/sports/2101567-8...isaac-jonathan

    Without posting the whole thing, the thing that stuck out for me is that he will be going to the same training facility as Forte, MJD, McCoy, Stewart, Gore, and Bradshaw. If this kid finally sees the value in training and being in shape then we have to begin evaluating him all over again because he could become a brand new player - the one who was rated as one of the top backs prior to his combine when he came in overweight.
    Let's hope Dwyer comes in at top condition. If he does he will push Redman because Dwyer has much more natural ability.
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