While Pittsburgh Steelers fans are rightly mad at Chase Claypool, they could really use the veteran leadership of JuJu Smith-Schuster. No, I’m not joking.
Smith-Schuster is in just his fifth year out of Southern Cal, but in that short time he’s established himself as one of the faces of the Steelers’ receiving corps, and one of the more dependable players on Pittsburgh’s roster.
Say what you want about Smith-Schuster’s personality, TikTok videos and personal brand, the man rarely drops passes and surely wouldn’t celebrate a personal accomplishment with his team trailing in the final seconds of a critical game. Claypool, meanwhile, is everything some Steelers fans think they loathe about Smith-Schuster.
If the 2021 season has proven anything about the Steelers’ receiving corps, it’s that Smith-Schuster is actually an answer more than he is a problem.
Steelers could use more JuJu Smith-Schusters, less Chase Claypools
Smith-Schuster isn’t the No. 1 option on any offense, not by a longshot. Once Antonio Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh, JuJu proved, for better or worse, that he’s not a No. 1 target for Ben Roethlisberger.
The USC product is better off as a dependable No. 2 receiver that fans can grow to love, and were he healthy this season, he’d be in a position to do just that on the opposite side of Diontae Johnson.
Unfortunately for Smith-Schuster, who is in a contract year, he suffered a shoulder injury early in the season that required surgery. He will not return, and thus Pittsburgh is missing a critical part of their passing game.
Say what you want about his off-field activities, Smith-Schuster always shows up on gameday, and rarely makes a critical mistake. When he does, it’s publicized for the masses thanks to that same brand.
Claypool, meanwhile, continues to wrack up penalty yardage and refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Smith-Schuster was raised under the old guard.
He’s not part of the culture problem. If anything, Smith-Schuster has proven himself part of the solution in his absence.