Second-year Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuester is off to a fast start this preseason. Could this be a sign of what’s to come?
With the exit of Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuester got a major vote of confidence from his organization.
With the pressure on their top option, superstar Antonio Brown, Smith-Schuester’s mission is to become a viable second option in order to keep the offense clicking. So far this preseason, though, Smith-Schuester is proving he can possibly handle the load and be a superstar in his own right.
Last week, he snagged a 71-yard bomb against the Philadelphia Eagles. Against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, he caught a four-yard touchdown pass. He would also proceed to do the Lambeau Leap to commemorate his score.
Although the touchdowns came from Steelers quarterback backup Landry Jones, Smith-Schuester is attempting to show the world he’s ready to dominate in 2018. In 2017, Smith-Schuester tallied 58 catches, 917 yards and seven touchdowns. With his rookie season behind him, Smith-Schuester has the self-awareness to know this season will be a challenge.
“My rookie year, anybody’s rookie year, those who explode have lots of successes because they don’t have film on them,” Smith-Schuster said. “And like I said, second year, they have that on me. This year you’ve just got to work harder. It’s me, AB [Antonio Brown], J-Hunt [Justin Hunter], [Marcus] Tucker, we’re all going to be out there. The guys that we have this year, that’s who we have to rock with, so it’s going to be super exciting to see what the outcome of this is going to be.”
With the mindset equipped with the talent to become a superstar this year, there’s nothing left to do but for Smith-Schuester to execute his thoughts. The second year for a player coming off a successful first-year campaign is usually harder due to familiarity amongst defenses. But film and preparation will be the remedy for Smith-Schuester to combat opposing defenses who are gearing up to stop him.
With Brown, Le’Veon Bell (hopefully) and Ben Rothliesberger in his corner, Smith-Schuester has all the support needed to become the superstar that many expect him to be. As long as he stays hungry and willing to improve, the Steelers will have two superstar wideouts that will give opposing defensive coordinators fits years to come.