Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster injured his shoulder and could be out for the rest of the season. Smith- Schuster is scheduled for shoulder surgery this week. Steelers nation wishes Schuster a speedy and healthy recovery. Still, head coach Mike Tomlin emphasized they aren’t looking for one person to replace the star receiver.
Instead, he wants his other talented role players to step up and fill the void. Unfortunately, the fifth-year receiver will be placed on IR (injured reserve) for the remainder of the year.
“When you lose someone like JuJu and how he fits into our offense, typically you have multiple players stepping up in some way or another,” Tomlin stated on Tuesday. “We’re not looking to replace JuJu. We’re simply creating more opportunities for those who will take on bigger roles.”
Pittsburgh Steelers High Hopes for Receivers
Smith-Schuster was fourth on the Steelers in targets over the course of five weeks. He recorded 15 receptions for 129 yards and a rushing touchdown, per ESPN. Although he played while severely injured these past couple of games, he still managed to play 69% of offensive snaps this season.
Smith-Schuster over the years has built a rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. At the start of last season, the Steeler’s offense got off to a great start. Roethlisberger completed 72% of his passes last year to Smith-Schuster, 10% higher than any other targeted receivers, per ESPN. Not to mention, he only had two drops since the start of the 2020 season. While his teammates had 43 within that same span.
The Steelers will miss Smith-Schuster in the offensive plans going forward. However, their recent signings of James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud may elevate their games and reciprocate the value of Smith-Schuster.
“We have great confidence in James, and although JuJu’s injury is unfortunate, it gives James the chance to take on a bigger role and showcase his abilities.”