JuJu Smith-Schuster has been a pleasant surprise to the Pittsburgh Steelers over the last two weeks. He caught his longest touchdown of the season in Week Four, and in two straight games saw the field more than veteran Martavis Bryant. In fact, the two have the same number of receptions over the last two games, but Smith-Schuster has eight more yards and the touchdown. He has also done this on three less targets.
JuJu Smith-Schuster on the beat with Ben Roethlisberger
Smith-Schuster is just 20 years old, the youngest player in the NFL. However, it is game acumen, and love for physicality that have put him on the field so often, so early.
As a blocker, he may already be the best in the team. Ben Roethlisberger went as far as to compare him to the great Hines Ward. As a receiver, he is getting on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger quickly for his learning curve, and is already becoming an impact player.
His touchdown in Week Four, the second of his career, shows why Steelers fans are going to consistently love Smith-Schuster as a reliable receiving threat for the foreseeable future.
We see that Smith-Schuster is intended to run a cross. The diversion of the linebacker coming in to pick up Le’Veon Bell busts his route. However, he immediately turns, and puts his eyes on Ben Roethlisberger. He follows his quarterback who led him into space for the walk in touchdown.
For someone at his age, this is an impressive play. Some receivers would get flustered and try to push through to continue the wasted route. Others would be too late to get on the same page with their quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is an improvisational quarterback, and him seeing that is going to continue to give him the confidence to trust this rookie. It is a small play, but quick adjustments such as that are what make the future for Smith-Schuster so special.
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