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Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Jonathan Dwyer Has Developed into a Difference Maker

November 2nd, 2012 at 10:50 PM
By Mark Mihalko

As the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to prepare for the New York Giants, injuries continue to be a huge story. How those injuries will affect the team at this point is unknown, yet, there is one that should keep fans wondering.

'Steelers v Bills' photo (c) 2009, Chris Winters - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
For many, that would the hamstring injury suffered by linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Yes, Woodley is the best pass rusher and he has the ability to take over a game, but it another injury and another player fans should be more concerned about. That player is Jonathan Dwyer.

Sure, some will say, he is a temporary success, that a healthy Rashard Mendenhall or Isaac Redman could put those numbers. They will argue that prior to injuring his Achilles against the Tennessee Titans, Mendenhall looked good in his first game back from his ACL injury and they will be right, he did. He still took too many negative plays, but he did look good. The difference between that game and these two weeks behind Dwyer is that the offense looks better; they look more in harmony and almost have the look of a team with balance. Make no mistake, the running game is still a work in progress, but it is improving rapidly, and has the ability to add some dimensions to the famous dink-and-dunk attack.

Mendenhall may be the most talented all-around running back on the roster, but he has never let his athleticism catch-up with his on-field ability or production. Most frustrating is the fact that he has the size and speed to run with power, yet, he is a finesse back that often tries too hard to hit the home run. Dwyer is a different back, big and physical with quick feet and a quick burst, it appears that he has been successful because he is a combination of Mendenhall and Redman. He has just enough burst to make it through holes and hit the edge like Mendenhall and he runs with power and rarely loses yardage like Redman.

One cannot argue with his numbers, averaging over 100-yards (6.7 yards per carry) in his two starts in 2012. More importantly, he has earned the trust of the offense and deserves to be the feature running back. Unfortunately, he tweaked his quad against the Redskins, and may not be 100 percent against the Giants. He says he is fine, but with the outside elements, it will not be a known factor until after kick off.  
 
Until Sunday, Steelers fans will have to hope Dwyer can answer the bell. The offense is better and the team is better when he is in the backfield, and the Steelers will need to be balanced against the Giants if they expect to travel to New Jersey and pull out a victory. 

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Tags: Football, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall

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