Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jonathan Dwyer: There's Something Rotten In The State Of...Pittsburgh

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." - Marcellus from Hamlet, act I, scene IV

The reason Marcellus says "state of Denmark" rather than just Denmark is to indicate the fish is rotting from the head down - all is not well at the top of the hierarchical structure.  

We bring this up because there seems that there may be something amiss in the hierarchical structure of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not that we're insinuating that someone's ghostly relative is influencing anything, but there does seem to be influence nonetheless. 

Maybe. But we've seen it before.

When Jonathan Dwyer was released in the final cutdown to get to the 53-player NFL allotment, there were many who were up in arms over it. My partner being among those who was particularly livid. Yet, despite social media networks being all a twitter (pun intended), the reason isn't really known.

One reason some have cited is that Dwyer fumbles too much. In reality, Isaac Redman has fumbled seven times in 273 carries. Felix Jones has fumbled 12 times in approximately 600-career carries. Dwyer? Twice in 181 carries. 

Another reason is supposed to be Dwyer's work ethic. No, he was never very consistent, being either hot or cold. Too often on the sidelines nursing an "injury." Something he probably could have come back from sooner. A reason Steelers beat writer Gerry Dulac recently tweeted from his Twitter (@GerryDulac) account as well.

“@gerrydulac: Steelers got tired of Dwyer's lack of dedication to his job; and they like Felix Jones.”

But was that behind him?

To be sure, for the zone-blocking system, yes, Felix Jones is better than Dwyer who is a more-limited runner. He can make poor decisions with the ball at times. Also, Jones is (much) faster, is a slightly better fit with how Haley uses backs and has the cutback ability needed for this run scheme. So, that I get. 

Is Dwyer better than Redman, though? Yes. When Dwyer is on his game, he is a better running back.

Maybe, though, they felt Redman reads the seams better in the zone scheme. Maybe the "Redzone" aspect of Redman's game plays into it. Or maybe...

@MarkKaboly_Trib: "One last thing on Dwyer ... it wasn't the coaching staff that wanted him gone."

"Ay, there's the rub."

It isn't as if we haven't seen Art Rooney II meddle in team affairs before. (How's that "retirement" going, Bruce Arians? Catch many fish?) Or it could be Kevin Colbert pulling the Salary Cap strings.

Regardless, this smacks at a front office decision. Dwyer was due $1.3 million in 2013 on a one-year restricted free agency tender. He led the Steelers in rushing last season, but they keep Redman instead. A player whose total and average numbers were lower than Dwyer's. 

No matter how you slice it, from an on-the-field standpoint, the move doesn't make sense. Redman was barely on the field in the preseason and saw his numbers drop last season, yet Dwyer was cut. 

"Here's to the pencil pushers: may they all get lead poisoning."

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TIDBITS: The Steelers edified their special teams on Monday. 

Per the Steelers official Twitter (@Steelers) account: "We have signed veteran punter Zoltan Mesko (@ZoltanMesko) to our active roster today. To make room for Mesko we released second-year punter Drew Butler.”

Per Bob Labriola from his Twitter (@BobLabriola) account: "This is the key stat on Mesko: 101-of-175 punts could not be returned by the opposition." He was drafted by the Patriots in 5th round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Steelers also used a waiver claim on cornerback Antwon Blake after the Jacksonville Jaguars waived him. Isaiah Green was released to make room for him. He's a gunner and led Jacksonville in special teams tackles in 2012 with 12, a talent the Steelers squad desperately needs. Green, if he clears waivers, should circle back around to the practice squad. Devin Smith would probably be the one released at that point. 

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Steelers Labor Day Practice Report from Jim Wexell: http://t.co/yHhYibIl8o 

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Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones, who suffered a bruised sternum in the third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, practice with the team again. Afterward, he talked to the media.

"I pretty much did everything today," said Jones. "Great feeling to get back out there and just practice with the guys and go through our routine and prepare for Sunday. Today was basically a day we go through a lot of the early calls against other teams. Get back into it, been a long weekend. So, for me, it was (about) going out there and getting back into the feel for it. I've been off a week and I'm just finding out where I'm at."

@MarkKaboly_Trib: 14 of #Steelers 53-man roster weren't drafted or orginally signed by team. 9 of those 14 came this year including 5 in past 3 weeks.