Running Back Jonathan Dwyer Could Push Isaac Redman for Playing Time in the Pittsburgh Steelers Backfield
Submitted by Syndicated sources on July 8, 2012
As the Pittsburgh Steelers creep toward the opening of training camp, everything remains quiet. In fact, the only news to come out recently is the lack of progress between the team and wide receiver Mike Wallace in his contract situation. When camp finally opens on July 27, one position everyone will be watching is running back. While we have written about the potential Baron Batch could bring to the offense, it is another player who could really push Isaac Redman for playing time early in the season in Rashard Medenhall’s absence. That player is Jonathan Dwyer.Of course, Redman deserves first crack at the starting position after a solid campaign in 2011. The 6-0, 230-pound fan favorite runs like a bull and performed well in spot duty recording 479 yards (4.4 YPC) and three touchdowns with his limited reps. However, as with everything on the Steelers, he will still have to earn his playing time and must play with the edge that helped him rise from undrafted rookie free agent to playoff starter.
One player who also flashed some potential in 2011 was Dwyer, who recorded his first 100-yard performance early in the season. For some fans, Dwyer has not developed as they had hoped after the Steelers drafted him out of Georgia Tech. Maybe they are right, but he did come from a triple-option attack that is the farthest thing from a pro style offense, and did need an acclamation period.
Sure, Dwyer did not endear himself to some fans when he came into camp out of shape last season after the lockout, but something changed early in training camp and Dwyer appeared to be on his way until being injured during the 2011 season. Blessed with a solid combination of size, speed and power, the 5-11, 235-pound bruiser may finally be ready to excel in the Steelers system and more importantly may finally have a chance to compete.
Even if Dwyer cannot unseat Redman for early playing time, he should be a perfect compliment as the lead back up as he has many of the same characteristics and skills as Redman. Something the team could use as they try to wear opposing defenses down in the running game.
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I'd love for Dwyer to step it up and reduce the total number of carries that Redman has to have. It would also give the Steelers huge leverage and options in contract discussions with Mendy.
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
Again, as I said months ago, if Dwyer shows up in shape, and is given a legitimate chance to win the job? He will.
I seriously doubt he will win the starting job even if he comes in ripped and ready to go.
Originally Posted by Crash
I have no doubt that Dwyer will be given an opportunity to compete if he shows something...
I just doubt that he shows something...
I hope I'm wrong.
Originally Posted by Slapstick
I believe Dwyer will show enough to make the team, but not enough to start over Redman.
I think Dwyer lucked out with Mendenhall getting hurt late last year.
I think, if Mendenhall were fully healthy, then our RB corps would be Mendenhall, Redman, Batch, and Rainey...with Dwyer on the outside looking in. But since Mendenhall may not be ready until mid-season or so, Dwyer gets a stay of execution.
The Rams' offense featuring weapons such as Marshall Faulk, Torrey Holt, and Isaac Bruce were known as "The Greatest Show on Turf"
The Steelers' offense featuring weapons such as Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant should be known as "The Greatest Show on Grass"
This has nothing at all to do with respective playing surfaces at the Edward Jones Dome vs. Heinz Field.
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Goal line drill a highlight of practice
Sat. Aug. 4, 2012
Teresa Varley - Steelers.com
Steelers running back John Clay goes over the top to score during goal line drill Saturday during practice at St. Vincent College.
One of the highlights of Steelers training camp is the goal line drill, and on Saturday afternoon the team didn’t disappoint the fans gathered at St. Vincent College to watch.
“We did good, spirited work today,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “We worked in the areas of short yardage and goal line. It was a good start in that area. I liked the energy and enthusiasm and competitive spirit of the men.
“Of course it was not perfect. I didn’t expect it to be. We’ll make the corrections and continue to move forward with our team development.”
The offense scored three times, with Jonathan Dwyer running it in and Byron Leftwich hitting Leonard Pope for a score. The highlight for the offense was when John Clay leaped right over the middle of the pile for a touchdown.
“He’s playing to his size, which is good,” said Tomlin of Clay. “It is one thing to be a big back but it’s another thing to play with that demeanor. When given the opportunity he’s shown that he’s playing with that demeanor, which is a good thing on the goal line. But he also did a nice job in short yardage and other areas as well.”
But it was the defense that won the first goal line drill of camp, without many defensive starters in on it.
“I take a lot of pride in it,” said Damon Cromartie-Smith, one of the defensive standouts. “Troy (Polamalu) came out trying to hype the guys up, saying this is the difference between a lot of the guys making the team and not making the team. He fired us up and wanted us to get out there and fly around.
“I am just trying to be an inspiration to all of the guys trying to make the team.”
* * *
The Steelers first two draft picks this year, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, both worked with the first team offensive line in practice.
“He’s been doing a nice job of representing himself,” said Tomlin of DeCastro. “We’ll see where it goes. I wasn’t looking at him directly. I was looking at everyone, so I don’t really have a fair assessment of his performance particularly in that area today with the first team. We’ll take a look at it tonight.”
Tomlin also spoke about Adams after practice.
“He has been doing a nice job. He’s earned those snaps and we’ll continue to evaluate him. Again, he’s far from ready.”
* * *
On the injury front quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left practice before the goal line drill after someone stepped on his foot. Roethlisberger stood on the sidelines watching the drill with ice on his foot and Tomlin said he is fine.
Tomlin’s injury update: “Ryan Baker has an ankle injury, and Brandon Johnson has an ankle injury. We’ll take a look at those guys. Willie Colon wasn’t able to go today. His ankle got rolled up on in the drill. I think he stayed down for a moment or two. But it could be characterized as day-to-day at this point. Isaac Redman wasn’t able to go today but we’ll still characterize those guys as day-to-day with the injuries they sustained last night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.”
Clay ready to do whatever is asked
Posted by Teresa Varley on August 6, 2012
Running back John Clay came into camp a little bit lighter this year and in better condition wanting to show that he is ready to do whatever is asked of him in the Steelers offense.
“I just wanted to get myself in condition, get prepared,” said Clay, who leaped over defenders to score on the goal line drill on Saturday. “Last year we got thrown into the fire because of the whole lockout. This year getting a chance to have OTAs, getting to know the system really helped out.”
Clay also spent time working on the various aspects of his game, proving he can be an all-around back.
“I can be on the field longer, helping myself, giving myself a chance to be on the field,” said Clay. “I’ve worked on my blocking. Technique-wise it’s good. I just have to get a chance to do it and show them in a game. I am catching every ball. I am showing them I can be the first or third down back if I need to be.”
The competition at running back is tough this year, with Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch, Chris Rainey and Clay all fighting for time with Rashard Mendenhall still sidelined.
“It’s going to be who comes out and shows what they can do in the preseason,” said Clay. “I have to make sure I know my assignments, stay in the playbook, and do a good job on special teams.”