At Georgia Tech, Jonathan Dwyer (2007-2009) put up some outstanding rushing numbers and was able to grab some nice accomplishments. He capped off his career with identical 1,395 yard seasons in 2008 and 2009. The 1,395 that he tabulated in 2008 was good enough to earn Dwyer the “ACC Offensive Player of the Year” and “ACC Player of the Year” that season.
In 2010, Dwyer was drafted in the 6th round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. While in Pittsburgh he did not get the amount of carries that he was used to although he did have his moments with the Steelers. He played in 36 games over his four seasons in “The Steel City” and rushed 230 times for 971 yards and two touchdowns. In 2012 he did get the opportunity to carry the ball 156 times for 623 yards which ironically is the same season that he scored both of his career touchdowns. But for the most part, Dwyer was patiently waiting for his opportunity.
While in Pittsburgh, Dwyer’s offensive coordinator was current Arizona Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians. Dwyer must have made enough of an impression on Arians while he was in Pittsburgh because this past offseason, Dwyer was signed to a free agent deal for 1-year at $790,000.
According to an article by Ava Wallace for AZ Central Sports, Jonathan Dwyer is pretty excited about the opportunity to work with Arians again. He was quoted in the article as saying:
“I loved him when I was in Pittsburgh, I hated that he had to leave, Getting that call from him and telling me how much he wanted me, that they needed me out here to help out and push maybe to be a starter, maybe to be a major backup — hearing that and being able to come back out and play with him again, why not?”
Bruce Arians was Dwyer’s offensive coordinator for Dwyer’s first two seasons in the NFL. So this move by Arians is about bringing in someone who is familiar with his playbook as well as a move to bring a veteran presence to play along with the young group of running backs that the Cardinals have in their stable.
Dwyer is going to provide some helpful aid to a young running back group that includes Andre Ellington who rushed for 652 yards in his rookie year on a mere 118 carries (5.5 YPC) and Stefan Taylor who was drafted out of Stanford in the fifth round of this years draft. Dwyer’s familiarity with Bruce Arians offense is going to be a big help to these youngsters going into the 2014 season, especially since these kids will be facing some of the stiffest defenses the NFC has to offer in the St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
It is crazy to say that at 24 years of age, Dwyer is going to be the elder statesman of the group. What is really crazy is that outside of Andre Ellington, Dwyer is the only one in the Cardinals running back group that has scored a NFL touchdown.
With a young back like Ellington on the rise, Dwyer may be in a situation where carries could be hard to come by again, but Dwyer does not seem to be worried about that part of the situation. His main thing is to make sure that he gets himself together so that he can contribute when called on. Dwyer said ,
According to the article, Dwyer showed up in great shape and Bruce Arians was especially impressed with his catching ability in the red zone.
Last year the Cardinals won 10 games and missed out on the playoffs. With the addition of Dwyer to a young inexperienced yet talented backfield, to go along with receiving threats Larry FitzGerald and Michael Floyd, maybe the Cardinals could get over the hump in the West and make the playoffs.
Jonathan Dwyer, after four seasons in Pittsburgh, finds himself in a new situation where he is the teacher instead of the student for a group of young running backs. His experience with Bruce Arians is going to pay off big in the desert. But just think–his journey to the desert started in the Flats. It just goes to show that you never know where the football is going to take you and who it will connect you with.
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