The Pittburgh Steelers are struggling at the moment to find a suitable running game to complement the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The team struggled in Week 1 to get anything going on the ground and relied on Big Ben to scramble and make things happen out of the pocket.
A late-game interception cost the team a chance at a comeback, and the team will be looking to establish a ground game against the New York Jets in Week 2.
That's where third-year back Jonathan Dwyer comes into the picture.
Dwyer, the 23-year-old Georgia Tech alum, played sparingly in the team's Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. With Rashard Mendenhall out while recovering from an ACL injury, coach Mike Tomlin decided to split carries between Dwyer and fourth-year back Isaac Redman. The latter could not get anything going against Denver, amassing a paltry 20 yards on 11 carries.
Dwyer, while receiving only nine carries, finished with 43 yards. Not exactly front-page stuff, but certainly more productive than Redman. Mendenhall is probable for Sunday's game and practiced on Wednesday, but considering the injury he is coming back from and the fact that he hasn't played in a game since January 1, it is hard to believe he'll have any sort of major impact.
Dwyer has only been given carries in five games in his NFL career, with three of those games coming last year as he rushed for a total of 123 yards on 16 carries in the 2011 season, including a 76-yard run on Oct. 9. But his relative inexperience does not make him ill-equipped to handle the vaunted Jets defense. The Jets, lest people forget, gave up 195 yards on the ground last week, with Bills running back C.J. Spiller doing most of the damage.
For the Jets, that puts them 29th in the league after one game, and while it's far too early to say they will have trouble all season against the run, the team did have issues last year in that facet of the game. Their secondary may have a slew of playmakers, but they can be taken advantage of on the ground.
Dwyer only had nine carries last Sunday, but he ran hard and looked impressive. The Steelers are also playing at home, where they are 8-1 all-time against New York.
The former Yellow Jacket is healthy and primed to do damage at home against the Jets this week, so scoop him off the waiver wire if you have the chance.