RB Jonathan Dwyer - Free Agent

5-11, 229Born: 7-26-1989College: Georgia TechDrafted: Round 6, pick 188 (2010)

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Game Recaps

2014 Week 1 vs SD (7 / 20 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)

While Dwyer never found the end zone like Taylor, he certainly seems entrenched as the number-2 back behind Ellington. Dwyer's 7 carries nearly doubled that of Taylor's total touches, and his additional 3 targets in the passing game hammered home that point. Dwyer did save his best run for last, picking up 7 yards on his last carry to pick up a first down and allow Arizona to run the clock out, but other than that he was mostly terrible. This made the decision to run a direct snap to Dwyer for a two point conversion all the more confusing, and was predictably stopped. In an effort to take some pressure off Andre Ellington, neither Dwyer nor Taylor really showed much.

2014 Week 2 vs NYG (9 / 31 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer further cemented himself as the number two running back, getting all the goal line carries this week and scoring the team's only offensive touchdown. Dwyer was also used on a 2-point conversion play, the second time in as many weeks, and was once again stopped for no gain. In both instances the play-calls have been highly questionable and even less successful. Dwyer did break off one long run of the day, picking up 20 of his total yards on one play, but often displays a disturbing lack of vision. Several times a hole was available with the right cut, but often times Dwyer simply plowed into the back of his line for a very minimal gain. He'll likely see a lot more opportunities around the goal line as the season continues, and will have to be effective in that area for his value to remain.

2013 Week 2 vs CIN (1 / 2 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was the second back in for the Steelers and he was stopped for a short gain on a run outside left tackle. Dwyer seemingly only came into the game because Redman was being evaluated for a concussion, as he didn't return to the field again.

2013 Week 3 vs CHI (12 / 39 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

Dwyer had his first carry in the second quarter, but he was tackled as soon as he got the ball. On his second carry, not only did he get past the line of scrimmage, but he continued down the field for a big gain before finishing the play with a hard hit on the defensive back. Dwyer was still spelling Jones at that point, but after Jones fumbled he didn't see the field again. Dwyer ran well, he wasn't as consistent as Jones, but he showed flashes. At this point, whoever holds onto the ball in Pittsburgh will see the field. Those who don't, won't.

2013 Week 4 vs MIN (2 / 7 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer came in late in the first quarter for the first time, as the second back. With Isaac Redman inactive, Dwyer got the nod ahead of Felix Jones. LeVeon Bell was very impressive and making the most of his touches, so Dwyer didn't get many chances to impress. He did have a strong seven yard gain early in the third quarter. He stayed in for the next play, but was stopped for a loss of one when he cutback into a wall of Vikings defenders.

2013 Week 6 vs NYJ (3 / 10 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Jonathan Dwyer was active over Isaac Redman, but he was barely used. He didn't see the field until the fourth quarter, when he had just one carry in short-yardage.

2013 Week 7 vs BAL (1 / 4 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was the third back into the game and got his first carry in the second quarter. Dwyer converted a short-yardage situation by running off left guard. He appears to be the new option in short-yardage as Isaac Redman was a healthy inactive again this week.

2013 Week 8 vs OAK (3 / 9 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer's first carry came in the third quarter. He ran off tackle and broke two tackle attempts before getting out of bounds for a first down. The Steelers went straight back to him, but he was hit in the backfield.

2013 Week 9 vs NE (1 / 30 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 23 / 0 rec)

Dwyer's first carry came late in the second quarter, when he immediately broke into the secondary for a huge gain on a well blocked run. Late in the fourth quarter, after the Patriots took a 17 point lead to all but seal the game, Dwyer came in and caught a 20 yard pass out of the backfield.

2013 Week 10 vs BUF (6 / 38 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was the third back onto the field, but he immediately had a positive play. On third and one, the Steelers ran Dwyer off tackle and he shifted his feet to slip through the line for a six yard gain. He came in on third and one again two minutes later and fought through the line well for a two yard gain. Dwyer caught a screen pass soon after, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage. On third and three, on the same drive, Dwyer ran into his own blocker before bouncing outside and escaping down the sideline for an eight yard gain. Dwyer added a six yard gain before the half and didn't see the football again until the fourth quarter. A 17 yard gain came with that carry, but it was a result of a huge hole that opened up directly in front of the running back. If anything, Dwyer failed to make the gain even bigger by not beating a defender in space.

2013 Week 11 vs DET (1 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)

Dwyer came in late in the second quarter, but his first carry was negated by a holding penalty and he fell down as soon as he caught a screen pass on the next play. He caught a pass out of the backfield for a first down in the fourth quarter.

2013 Week 12 vs CLE (6 / 7 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was the third back onto the field. He caught a one yard pass in the flat after lining up as a receiver in the second quarter. His first carry came on third and one in the third quarter, but he was stopped short. The Steelers went back to him on fourth and one, but he was again stopped short. Dwyer had another carry in the fourth quarter to spell Bell, but he gained just one yard on first and 10. Dwyer got more carries late in the fourth quarter as the Steelers were looking to close out the clock, but he made little impression.

2013 Week 14 vs MIA (3 / 8 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer came in during the first quarter for his first carry. On third and one, he pushed his way through the middle of the defensive line for a first down. Dwyer converted another third and one in the second quarter.

2013 Week 15 vs CIN (6 / 26 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was the third back onto the field. He came in during the series Bell took off in the second quarter. His first carry went for five yards up the middle. The Steelers then tossed the ball to him and he showed good acceleration to get a first down around the corner. Dwyer didn't see the field again until the Steelers had a 10 point lead with two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.

2013 Week 16 vs GB (1 / 7 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)

Dwyer didn't come into the game until the third quarter. As he generally does, he immediately ran the ball up the middle for a seven yard gain. Dwyer showed some versatility then as he caught a pass in the flat before making a defender miss for a first down.

2013 Week 17 vs CLE (3 / 10 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

Cemented into his role as the Steelers' short-yardage back, Dwyer got a chance to show off his ability early on the Steelers' first drive. He came in on third and one close to midfield to power his way through the middle for a first down. Unusually, Dwyer came in on a second and 13 play in the second quarter before he caught a pass for nine yards over the middle of the field. Dwyer came in for Bell in the fourth quarter for one drive as the Steelers' focus shifted to running out the clock.

2012 Week 1 vs DEN (9 / 43 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)

After turning enough heads in the preseason to earn some touches (regardless of whether or not Isaac Redman was hurt), Dwyer continued to build that momentum in this game. Like Redman, he's not going to be mistaken for a track star, but his lateral movement and ability to go "north-south" sooner in the play than Redman was evident Sunday night. Dwyer also caught two passes on the night. The Pittsburgh running game is going to struggle - particularly with the preseason injury to rookie guard David DeCastro and the in-game injuries Sunday night to right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard Ramon Foster. DeCastro will be out for at least 6-8 weeks, and it remains to be seen how sever the injuries to the others are. Regardless, Dwyer's ceiling appears to be a matchup flex play when Pittsburgh is facing a weak opponent.

2012 Week 2 vs NYJ (12 / 28 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)

After out-performing Isaac Redman in Week 1, Dwyer wasn't spectacular in this game. Like Redman, his running style isn't conducive to penetrating defenders. He lacks lateral movement and requires a full head of steam in order to make a "splash" play. Dwyer is more talented than Redman, but the offensive line situation in Pittsburgh is simply not effective enough to allow him (or Redman) to make big plays.

2012 Week 3 vs OAK (3 / -1 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)

Dwyer began the came as the clear backup to Isaac Redman. He ended the game sitting the bench after losing a fumble in the first half. Just two weeks ago, Dwyer appeared to be the better of the two, but in this game, he got nothing going while Redman - at times - fought hard and gained decent yardage. With the team on a bye next week and Rashard Mendenhall likely returning for Week 5, Dwyer's playing time might be limited going forward.

2012 Week 7 vs CIN (17 / 122 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer had a big night Sunday filling in for Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman. He carried the ball 17 times for 122 yards in helping the Steelers control the pace of the game against the Bengals. His best run came on his last carry of the game. On third and seven he broke free after running off guard to the right. Dwyer bounced the run outside and powered through the Bengals linebackers for a 32 yard gain, effectively keeping the Steelers from having to punt the ball back to Cincinatti as the clock wound down. He also carried the ball on four successive downs in the second quarter that netted the Steelers forty yards and two first downs. Most impressive was the fact that Dwyer only lost yardage on two of his seventeen carries, insuring that the Steelers were picking up yardage most every time he touched the ball. Dwyer showed excellent leg power in breaking through the first line of defense and good agility in bouncing off of tacklers and breaking through arm tackles on his way to one of the best games of his career. The Pittsburgh line did a great job opening up holes between the tackles, winning with an initial push that kept defenders off of Dwyer until he had picked up positive yardage.

2012 Week 8 vs WAS (17 / 107 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)

For the second straight game, Pittsburgh's rushing offense was a viable weapon thanks to Dwyer. A large back with above average feet quickness for his size, Dwyer has run deliberately and aggressively in back-to-back weeks. Multiple times in the game, he was first touched behind the line of scrimmage. However, he was able to break free and create positive plays more often than not. Dwyer showed a little more diversity to his game than most big backs have as he got some carries out of the shotgun, which creates more of a draw/trap scheme (as opposed to a straight downhill style). The way Dwyer is running has to have this coaching staff thinking long and hard about who the team's top back will be when all three are healthy. Rashard Mendenhall, an unrestricted free agent at year's end, may end up having to find another team. While this team is still very much in the playoff race, there may be a look to the future to see if Dwyer can continue to carry the load effectively. This potential "tryout" could impact the team's decision of whether or not to keep Mendenhall.

2012 Week 10 vs KC (19 / 56 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)

Dwyer replaced Redman after he fumbled the football, and promptly ran into his own blocker with his first carry. He didn't get much running room with his first few carries, but broke off a big gain up the middle when his line created a hole on third and three. However, after that play he was mostly bottled up by the Chiefs as the Steelers' offensive line failed to create good holes for him to run through. Without Redman coming back into the game often after the fumble, and Chris Rainey being active but on the sidelines because of rib issues, Dwyer never got many opportunities to rest either. His explosion wasn't there and neither were the holes, so it was no surprise he had a tough day returning from injury.

2012 Week 11 vs BAL (12 / 55 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 26 / 0 rec)

Jonathan Dwyer was the most impressive Pittsburgh running back. Dwyer, who played 32 snaps, displayed the same level of tough running that we've grown accustomed to watching. Despite taking just five carries for 15 yards in the first half, Pittsburgh made it a point to get him heavily involved during the second half. During his team's tenth drive, Dwyer accumulated 40 total yards through a mix of runs and screen passes. On a 2nd-and-14 play, Dwyer caught a designed screen pass and accelerated up the field for 14 yards. Dwyer generated five of the 14 yards after contact as he launched into Terrell Suggs. Pittsburgh came right back to Dwyer, feeding him two carries that resulted in gains of eleven and seven yards. Dwyer ran with a low pad level and sought out initial contact. With his team in the red zone, Dwyer took a carry up the middle for eight yards. Over his team's final three drives, Dwyer continued run hard after contact. On a 3rd-and-8 play at midfield, Byron Leftwich was hit by Paul Krueger and flipped the ball up to Dwyer. Dwyer showed a little wiggle, evading the first defender and a great second effort by lunging for the first down. Isaac Redman suffered a first half concussion, so Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall split caries. Both Dwyer and Mendenhall are playing through injuries, but Dwyer's burst and rugged running style was superior to Mendenhall's.

2012 Week 12 vs CLE (9 / 19 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

Dwyer entered the game on the first play after Rashard Mendenhall fumbled. His first run displayed his strength, as it looked like he was stopped at the line but kept his legs driving and got four yards. The very next play, he caught a screen pass and picked up the remaining six for a first down, further illustrating his versatility. In the second quarter, Dwyer became the third different Pittsburgh back to lose a fumble. He was replaced on the next drive by Chris Rainey as Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley continued to send a message to any runner who loses a fumble. Dwyer returned in the second half but wasn't able to do anything remarkable as the entire offense either stalled out or turned the ball over for the entire half.

2012 Week 13 vs BAL (16 / 49 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 8 / 0 rec)

Dwyer was playing well early in the game, as he continually bounced off of defenders and gained forward momentum in the tackles, but the Ravens' defense was daring the Steelers to throw the ball and flying to every run play at the line of scrimmage. After being bottled up for much of the game until the third quarter, Dwyer bounced off a crowd again before sprinting outside. Dwyer used a block downfield from Charlie Batch to run inside the pylon for a touchdown. Dwyer ran the ball very well for most of the day, he doesn't break tackles, but he was repeatedly bouncing off defenders. Pinball, as his nickname should now be, did have one poor decision not in the running game when he tried to rip the ball from Ed Reed at the one yard line after an interception. Instead of tackling Reed and giving his defense great position, Reed was able to sprint out the field for a big return. Dwyer was the team's bell cow as the starter and he earned every single yard he gained as the Ravens focused on shutting him down.

2012 Week 14 vs SD (8 / 32 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 18 / 0 rec)

With the Steelers trailing throughout, there wasn't much opportunity to establish any type of ground game. Even if the Steelers wanted to, though, it didn't look like the Chargers were going to give them much of an opportunity. He was stuffed on a third and 1 carry on the team's second drive of the game, and it only went downhill from there. He did have a nice outside run for 14 yards thanks to some excellent downfield blocking early in the second half, and he followed that up with a 6-yard gain up the middle. But aside from those two runs, he gained just 12 yards on his other six carries. That gives an idea of just how inconsistent the Steelers rushing attack was.

2012 Week 15 vs DAL (9 / 22 / 1 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer's first carry went for six yards through a good hole inside left tackle. Dwyer ran again off left guard for a four yard gain. Dwyer's third carry was finally stopped for just one yard as he bounced off the a pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage. Dwyer was shut down before he could get to the line of scrimmage on his next run. Dwyer's next carry came at the beginning of the third quarter when he pushed his way up the middle for four yards. A similar draw play was stopped for little more than one yard on the next play. After the big play to Mike Wallace, Jonathan Dwyer ran the ball in behind David DeCastro for a touchdown. It was the typical run that Isaac Redman normally makes for the Steelers. Dwyer was bottled up with his first carry on the Steelers' drive in the fourth quarter. Dwyer took a draw play over right tackle for four yards.

2012 Week 16 vs CIN (14 / 39 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer's first run was an aggressive one as he immediately bounced outside on a run designed to go up the middle. Dwyer escaped behind good blocking on the edges for a 12 yard gain. The Steelers made a commitment to Dwyer early on, but the Bengals didn't let him Dwyer loose after the first carry until their fourth drive when he cut through the middle for 10 yards. Dwyer ceded the second quarter to Rashard Mendenhall, before starting the second half. His first carry went untouched up the middle for an eight yard gain. If he didn't trip himself up he could have had a bigger play into the secondary.

2012 Week 17 vs CLE (11 / 52 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

Dwyer made little to no impact early on and his biggest run came on third and 24 when the Browns were in prevent defense and he ran off right guard for 12 yards. Dwyer spent much of the first half on the sidelines, before taking the first carry of the third quarter on a counter for 11 yards and a first down. Dwyer took the same play for four yards. On the same drive, Dwyer broke outside right tackle again when he shedded a tackle for another first down and big gain. Dwyer was running much better in the second half, as he spun away from the defense on third and two to get the first down. With six minutes left in the game, the Steelers turned to Dwyer to try and close the game out. After being stopped for a yard on first and 10, he caught a nine yard screen pass to set up third and one. Redman came in to convert that third down. Dwyer came back in on the next play but was stuffed at the line of scrimmage again.

2011 Week 5 vs TEN (11 / 107 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)

Dwyer, largely considered a draft bust who couldn't get himself on the field, is a player the Steelers have held on to despite that. When he finally got his chance in this game, he showed why. His first carry was from deep inside his own territory. Looking as if he was shot out of a cannon, Dwyer busted the run down the right sideline for 76 yards. After Redman left the game, Dwyer continued to earn the trust of the team as he got clock-killing carries as the game progressed. While Dwyer will fall down the depth chart when Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore return, it's another example of an organization holding on to a player despite criticism, showing their belief, and then being vindicated by that decision when the player finally gets his shot.

2011 Week 6 vs JAX (2 / 8 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Dwyer dressed for the second straight game as 3rd-down, all-purpose back Mewelde Moore sat out this game again with injury. The two games represent one more than Dwyer dressed for all last season. Despite his limited use, the team continues to hang on to Dwyer as the small chance that he plays to his full potential is tantalizing. Dwyer is kind of a mix between Redman and Mendenhall - of course with less overall skill than either. He's not as fast as Mendenhall but can get yardage outside. He's not as tough straight ahead as Redman but can lower his pads and use his big body for yards. Dwyer is likely to return to the bottom of the depth chart, but his stint in these two games - albeit brief - showed that he belongs in the NFL somewhere.