Every year when it looks as if Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer might be down for the count, he always gets himself off the mat and answers the bell. In the preseason loss Monday night to Washington Redskins, Dwyer answered the bell both literally and figuratively as he replaced injured rookie running back Le\’Veon Bell after the first offensive possession and finished the game with 68 yards on 14 carries.
Ever since he was drafted in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Dwyer has made the preseason his bell ringing season as he has now rushed for 588 yards on 124 carries dating back to his rookie year. While it hasn\’t been pretty at times, Dwyer has been at his best when his back is against the wall. In addition, he has missed very little playing time due to an injury.
Depending on how long Bell winds up being sidelined by his foot injury, Dwyer could very well could be the running back that the Steelers ask to answer the bell as the starter in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans. In the six games that he started last season, he rushed for 391 yards on 84 carries, and twice he topped the 100-yard mark.
During the offseason, the Georgia Tech product was once again heavily criticized for his conditioning as it looked like the dinner bell was the only bell he had been answering. Dwyer warned everyone not to bet against him again this year, and so far he is once again proving his doubters wrong.
During his post game press conference Monday night, head coach Mike Tomlin said Dwyer had his moments and that he did some nice things against the Redskins. If those nice things continue in the final two preseason games, it will be hard for the Steelers coach not to make him his bell cow running back until Bell is ready to play again. At the very least, it is clear as a bell that Dwyer deserves the opportunity to start the third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.