After the first three years of his professional career were marred by various injuries and weight issues, Jonathan Dwyer faced an uphill climb to make Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster this fall. Despite the fact that Dwyer led the team in rushing during preseason play (136 yards) and showed a bit of versatility in the passing game (seven catches, 31 yards, one touchdown) Pittsburgh’s brass elected to keep Isaac Redman over the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.
While Dwyer didn’t “light it up” for the Steelers during preseason play, he played in every game and was not limited by injuries like Redman was. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh’s brass, the decision to keep Redman over Dwyer came back to haunt them during their 0-2 start when Redman caught “fumble-itis” and even lied about sustaining a concussion during the team’s loss against the Bengals.
Due to their need of capable depth at running back, Pittsburgh inked Dwyer after Redman’s ball-security issues reared their ugly head on opening day and the fourth-year back has slowly emerged as an effective “battering ram” for the Steelers’ offense.
After doing that role sparingly over Pittsburgh’s first eight games, Dwyer came on strong during yesterday’s contest against the Buffalo Bills. Dwyer rushed for 38 yards on six carries and converted two key first downs in third-and-short situations on Pittsburgh’s first touchdown drive.
While Le’Veon Bell might be the team’s “featured back,” Dwyer demonstrated his value yesterday with some strong runs in obvious running situations to keep the sticks moving. Although the team’s leading rusher last year might not re-gain his starting job from Bell, his emergence in a complimentary role has been a pleasant surprise to watch in recent weeks.
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