The JuJu Smith-Schuster who was popping out of the 2018 season was on high of the world. A dominant younger broad receiver for a flagship franchise, he may do no fallacious in entrance of the followers. Two years later, issues look fairly completely different, for a lot of causes. Ceaselessly, these causes fluctuate from particular person to particular person.
Why was that? Was it as a result of Antonio Brown wasn’t on the opposite aspect of the sector? Was it as a result of Ben Roethlisberger merely can’t throw the ball round anymore? Maybe it was due to his well being, notably his knee? He appeared to allude to the latter throughout an interview with Michael Irvin yesterday. Smith-Schuster indicated that he expects his function to vary in 2021.
“What individuals actually didn’t get to see rather a lot is — later in my profession, as a result of I handled accidents, I performed primarily slot, and coming again and enjoying outdoors extra this 12 months, and displaying people who I could possibly be a primary, and having Ben again wholesome, me being again wholesome, and simply having the workforce that we have now,” Smith-Schuster advised the Corridor of Fame broad receiver.
Since his breakout season with 111 catches for 1426 yards and 7 touchdowns, Smith-Schuster hasn’t even cracked 900 yards, although he did catch 97 passes and a career-high 9 touchdowns final 12 months. However no person would mistake him for the dynamic participant of 2018.
And I’ve little doubt that the explanations are a number of. However I’m additionally undecided I actually see Smith-Schuster spending much more time enjoying on the surface. That’s the place it is sensible relative to the remainder of the offense for him to play.
May it’s that the Steelers advised him one thing completely different this offseason, indicating that he’ll see extra time on the surface and larger alternatives to make performs, reasonably than the possession receiver kind of work that he did a 12 months in the past?
Smith-Schuster is, in any case, rebuilding his resume. He totally intends to money in subsequent offseason when the wage cap snaps again into one thing resembling normality, taking a one-year, $8 million contract this 12 months with the Steelers, seeing it as his finest alternative to re-establish himself.
One wonders if that was one of many workforce’s promoting factors to him in getting him to return. One additionally wonders if, as experiences indicated, there actually was extra to his knee final season than we knew on the time, and that it affected the best way during which the coaches managed Smith-Schuster and his function inside the offense. That’s pure conjecture on my half, I hasten so as to add, nevertheless it does make me marvel.
“I put on it on my wrist daily, it’s from my coach. It just about simply says shut out the noise, and that’s simply how I really feel. But when I’ve to go on the market and show individuals fallacious, it simply places extra gas to my hearth to go on the market and simply go on the market and dominate and be that man,” Smith-Schuster stated.