Tuesday, October 09, 2012

What About Jonathan Dwyer? Odd Man Out?

Watching. Thinking
When Mike Tomlin was asked yesterday whether guard Willie Colon's four penalties on Sunday vs. the Eagles were a by-product of overly aggressive play, he replied by acknowledging that, yes, Colon is an aggressive player but that, "I'd rather say, 'Whoa!' than 'Sic-em!'"

That may have been the money quote from Coach Tomlin's press conference yesterday, and it sounds optimistic.  It suggests that, at the very least, guys like Colon don't need a kick in the pants to get motivated. 

Which brings us to Jonathan Dwyer, who was listed as inactive for the game on Sunday.  With the return of Rashard Mendenhall giving the Steelers five running backs (Mendenhall, Ike Redman, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch and Dwyer), might Dwyer eventually be the odd man out?  Keep in mind the Steelers are likely going to make a roster move on Friday, when tight end Wesleye Saunders is eligible to return from his four-game suspension and one-week roster exemption.

Considering that he was deactivated for Sunday's game, it appears Dwyer is fifth on the depth chart.  The Steelers might be questioning whether they even need him.

Jonathan Dwyer
Yes, it's unfair to speculate.  Any number of roster moves could be made, injuries happen, and there are other fringe players on the roster.  But the last we saw Dwyer, he was fumbling a hand-off in Oakland -- a second-quarter turnover that gave the ball to the Raiders at the Steelers' 30-yard line and put Oakland in position to tie the score at 14-14.  The Steelers lost.  Dwyer hasn't seen the ball since.

Ever since Dwyer's poor showing at the 2010 NFL Combine, he's been dogged by intermittent questions about his focus and commitment. Entering the Combine, he'd been projected as a potential first-round draft choice.  At the Combine, he appeared to be fat, slow and out of shape.  He fell to the sixth round. 

Since then, he's played well in spots.  He ran hard in Game 3 this year against the Jets. Last year, in Game 5 against the Tennessee Titans, Dwyer broke a 76-yard run on his way to compiling 107 yards.  Guess what?  It's Game 5 against the Tennessee Titans.  If Dwyer is inactive again on Thursday night, well, it should be interesting to see what happens on Friday.  Perhaps a trade?

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