There is some bad news out of the Steel City as running back Jonathan Dwyer has missed 3 days of practice and is listed as “doubtful” on the team’s latest injury report. The Pittsburgh Steelers travel tomorrow for an afternoon tilt against the New York Giants and will be without their best back for the game.
Dwyer has really come into his own in the past 2 weeks, running with great leverage and power, breaking tackles and fighting hard for extra yards. He’s added energy and excitement to the offense and you can just see when he’s on the field the whole team plays a little harder.
Dwyer made his name known in the October 21st road win against the Cincinnati Bengals when he carried the ball 17 times for 122 yards, many of them coming late in the game to salt the game away. He followed that performance up with a 107 yard effort in a home win over the Washington Redskins. In each of these games Dwyer had a rush of over 30 yards.
But going into what might be the team’s biggest game of the season and the kickoff to a daunting back half of the schedule Dwyer is dealing with a quad injury that is almost certainly going to keep him off the field on Sunday. With fellow back Rashard Mendenhall out as well the burden of the run game is going to fall on Isaac Redman who’s been out injured himself, along with Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey. While I like Redman as a player and I think Rainey can be an effective weapon if used correctly, Dwyer had the confidence of the coaches and players. It’s hard to replace the energy that he brought to the field but I think all Steelers fans must understand that Dwyer has had problems with injuries since he came into the league so setbacks like this will have to be expected. What will be important is how does the team rally around a different group of backs and can those backs bring the same sort of production that Dwyer has the last 2 weeks. If they want to beat the Giants they must.