View Full Version : Dwyer, Clay hope to seize opportunity

Hawaii 5-0
06-13-2012, 12:55 PM
Dwyer, Clay hope to seize opportunity

June 13, 2012
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.”


06-13-2012, 02:16 PM
I'm hoping one of these guys can be the home run threat that Red man isn't.

Hawaii 5-0
06-13-2012, 03:24 PM
I'm hoping one of these guys can be the home run threat that Red man isn't.

I don't think Dwyer or Clay would be considered "home-run" threats, Chris Rainey would be the closest RB who fits that description on our current roster.

Hawaii 5-0
06-29-2012, 07:33 PM
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.


06-29-2012, 11:20 PM
there's also the chance that rainey takes a wide receiver spot . i believe thats what they did with logan.

Hawaii 5-0
07-02-2012, 11:08 PM
Steelers’ Dwyer intent on losing weight, increasing role

By Mark Kaboly
Published: Monday, July 2, 2012

Jonathan Dwyer was projected as a top 30 prospect before the NFL Combine in 2010. After the combine, his stock plummeted as questions about his weight and conditioning arose.

It cost him six rounds in the draft.

A year later, Dwyer arrived at training camp 20 pounds overweight and found himself in coach Mike Tomlin’s doghouse. He was inactive for the first four games.

Dwyer isn’t about to let his weight cost him another opportunity — arguably the biggest of his life.

Dwyer is set to be the backup running back to Isaac Redman when the Steelers start the season Sept. 9 in Denver. That is, if he comes into training camp in shape.

“I am pretty sure he has gotten it now,” Redman said. “I feel a light bulb went off in his head, and he is going to come to camp ready to go.”

Dwyer’s actions are saying the same.

Prodded by two of the NFL’s best running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew and Matt Forte — they share the same agent — Dwyer will spend the next four weeks in North Miami Beach, Fla., at Pete Bommarito Performance Systems ensuring he will arrive at St. Vincent College on July 25 in the best shape of his life.

“They asked me to come down, and I see how successful they are and how the training is and felt it was a good idea,” Dwyer said. “I thought to myself that I would be a fool not to go train down there with them.”

LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Ahmad Bradshaw and Jonathan Stewart also work out with Bommarito. So do some of Dwyer’s teammates, including Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons.

“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 said. “This is my year to prove something to myself, the league, to the organization, that I am worth more than what I was.”

Dwyer started workouts this week and will remain in Florida until the day before camp.

“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.”

Dwyer fought to get into shape during training camp last year. He showed up at 240 pounds, did not finish Tomlin’s opening-day “condition evaluation” and quickly found him taking part in the coach’s mandated 7 a.m. workouts.

Dwyer lost 20 pounds, made the team and contributed a few weeks later. Playing because of injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore, he rushed for 107 yards, including a 76-yard run in a 38-17 win over Tennessee.

“I think I showed a little of what I am capable of doing,” Dwyer said. “Now it is about showing the consistency.”

With Mendenhall likely out until midway through the season because of an ACL injury, the Steelers need depth.

“Dwyer has all the talent in the world,” Redman said. “He can run the ball; he can block; he can catch out of the backfield. With him, it is all about him being able to come to camp in shape.”


07-02-2012, 11:41 PM
Dwyer did well vs Tennessee but Clay is the one that I think will make the team and see the field (sometimes). I don't consider Clay's "weight loss" good as he is a power back. Clay has the potential to be a true power back and I think if he tries to drop weight and play differently he will not make the team nor get to show the potential I believe he has.

tony hipchest
07-03-2012, 01:06 AM
it is kinda sad the average nfl player only has a career that lasts only 3 years, and of all the positions it is the running back that has the shortest "life span" (no pun on c. spann).

the odds say ALL of our rb's are coming towards the end of their careers. It is now or never for all of them. i think clay will be the odd man out destined for more time on the PS.

07-03-2012, 01:22 PM
I'm hoping one of these guys can be the home run threat that Red man isn't.

One thing I'll give him though, he's a downhill runner and doesn't look at avoid contact.

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-03-2012, 01:41 PM
Clay was a guy that I really liked how he played at Wisconsin and hoped he would make an impact. Dwyer put up big numbers in that G Tech option offense, but looked to play "soft" for a bigger back. One should make it and I guess the Steelers arent that invested in either.

07-03-2012, 03:29 PM
It will be great to see who steps up and takes it. Hopefully all these backs will stay injury-free so that we can get a good read.

Fire Arians
07-03-2012, 03:41 PM
it's gonna be more about batch & rainey

07-03-2012, 05:34 PM
I think we will keep 4 backs since Mendy is hurt. Redman is the obvious starter and I think Batch and Rainey will be 2 and 3. If it's between Dwyer and Clay then I don't see how we would keep Dwyer. Dwyer hasn't appeared to be a power back and when he is at his proper weight he's not big enough to be a power back , and he's not a speed back like Rainey. Clay however has potential to be a TRUE power runner. We haven't seen much of him, but from what we have seen he is big, runs straight ahead, and gets in the end zone. Remind you of anybody?

Hawaii 5-0
07-09-2012, 12:27 AM
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.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/running_back_jonathan_dwyer_could_push_isaac_redma n_for_playing_time_in_the_pittsburgh_steelers_back field/11179276

07-09-2012, 03:59 PM
LOL, Syndicated Sources

One player who also flashed some potential in 2011 was Dwyer, ... he did come from a triple-option attack that is the farthest thing from a pro style offense, and did need an acclamation period.

Well, now that the applause has died down, lets see what he can do.

Even if Dwyer cannot unseat Redman for early playing time, he should be a perfect compliment as the lead back up ...
It's nice to have such polite competition among our backs.

07-09-2012, 06:31 PM
I'm really pulling for Clay to do well...