I have posted quite a bit from the interview that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert gave SiriusXM Radio after he met the media at the NFL combine on Thursday, but wanted to pass along his thoughts about running back Jonathan Dwyer.
Dwyer was placed on injured reserve in the early part of December with a broken foot and rushed for 123 yards on just 16 carries last season. Those stats were helped tremendously by a 76 yard run against the Tennessee Titans on his very first carry of the season.
Host Adam Schein asked Colbert just how good Dwyer can be going forward, as he thought the Steelers stole him in the 2010 draft. He also asked if Dwyer could be an answer for the Steelers at running back at the beginning of the year with Rashard Mendenhall likely to start the season on the PUP list. Colbert replied, “You know every time he gets on the field he does something good. He came in last year, the game he broke his foot in, and he had a 100 yards. And he\’s a big guy and you know sometimes he\’s a little too big quite honestly. He has to keep his weight in check, but he\’s 245 to 255 and he can run. He played in an option offense at Georgia Tech and he was more like the, I don\’t know what back they call him, but he was more in on a lot of fakes. You know a lot of times he didn\’t get to see the line of scrimmage from a running standpoint. So everything is still ahead of him and he lost a year this year with the injury. So we still think he can get better.”
Dwyer has had knocks on him ever since the Steelers drafted him and most of them seem to center around his motivation and desire to play the game. Colbert let it be known on Thursday that Dwyer needs to keep his weight in check and you have to figure that missing the mini-camp and OTA sessions due to the lockout last offseason did not help his progress. Dwyer did manage show up a few times on special teams however and we saw him show progress the few times he was asked to block on passing plays as well. That was not many times mind you, but at least he looked like he knew what he was doing.
There is no doubt that Isaac Redman will be the lead back next year to start the season with Mendenhall down, but it sounds like Dwyer will be given every opportunity to win the backup job to Redman. Dwyer will have stiff competition however from Baron Batch and John Clay as well and Colbert did name both of them by name during the same interview as he talked about the loss of Mendenhall.
Was this a message to Dwyer through the media? It certainly sounded that way to me.