Camp closes without much from Dwyer

Jonathan Dwyer was listed as doubtful for Saturday's game by Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. Has the spring sensation become a camp casualty?

LATROBE – If there can be such a thing as a star of spring football OTAs, it was Jonathan Dwyer, the Steelers' sixth-round draft pick. But the rookie running back didn't show nearly as much, when it counted, at this recently concluded training camp.

Dwyer showed up to St. Vincent College overweight, then missed several practices with two minor injuries, and in his only preseason action against the Detroit Lions carried six times for eight yards before leaving late in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Dwyer did, however, show some veteran savvy Thursday when he was asked about the injury and whether he'd be able to play Saturday against the New York Giants.

"You'll have to ask Coach Tomlin," Dwyer said, sounding like a seasoned pro.

Even after the question was re-phrased, Dwyer hung tough:

"You'll have to ask Coach Tomlin."

All Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin would say was that Dwyer is doubtful for Saturday's game.

Is Tomlin growing frustrated with a player who showed so much desire and natural ability only 10 weeks ago?

"I don't deal in frustrations," said Tomlin. "I just deal with what I look at. The reality is that he's not on the field, so he's not helping himself."

Saturday's game is the perfect opportunity for Dwyer to prove himself. His late appearance against the Lions wasn't productive, but the days leading up to it left running backs coach Kirby Wilson with hope.

"He had a very good week of practice," Wilson said after the Lions game. "I got him in the game later than I really wanted to, so he really didn't get enough of an opportunity to get going. I think we'll fix that this week. I look forward to him having another good week of practice and hopefully put him in there a little earlier to see what he's made of and how he can help us."

But, while Dwyer suited up this week and participated in individual drills, his shoulder injury prevented him from running in team scrimmages. And the Steelers really could've used him this week with Isaac Redman slowed by shin splints.

Now it appears Dwyer will miss the game as his opportunity to make the roster dwindles with each catch made by Antonio Brown (sixth WR) and each run made by Frank Summers and Redman (third and fourth RBs). The Steelers likely have only 10 spots for those two skill positions combined.

"Of course I'm a little frustrated, but I'm not mad or anything," said Dwyer, who may not understand that his opening is disappearing.

"My shoulder's getting better, but it's not to the point where I can be the running back I know I can be."

NOTES – Tomlin hasn't set his QB rotation for the game, but reiterated that Ben Roethlisberger will play. … Tomlin also said Daniel Sepulveda will kickoff, Brown will return punts and kickoffs, and that starters will play approximately 24 snaps. … NT Steve McLendon (knee) was the only player ruled out. … Rotating in with the first-team offensive line will be rookie center Maurkice Pouncey and RT Jonathan Scott. The latter signed with the Steelers as a free agent at the urging of new OL coach Sean Kugler, who coached Scott in Buffalo.


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