Mike Tomlin: JuJu Smith-Schuster is “used to” being double covered

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One of the biggest questions regarding the 2019 Steelers offense relates to whether new No. 1 receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will be able to handle the extra attention that comes from being the top option in the passing game. Coach Mike Tomlin explained on Wednesday that this is nothing new for the team’s 2018 MVP.

“He’s used to that,” Tomlin told reporters covering the Seahawks on Sunday. “He faced double teams a year ago. A lot of people [are] capable of doubling two people on possession-like situations. That was often a tactic that was employed against us a year ago where they doubled him and Antonio [Brown]. Him facing double teams particularly in situational football is not anything new. That’s why it’s important to strengthen ourselves as a collective unit then we are simply going to distribute the ball where the coverage tells us to and know that JuJu is going to get his opportunity to be impactful in the long run.”

It’s one thing to be doubled in certain situations and to be doubled consistently and another to consistently beat double coverage. That’s what Smith-Schuster will have to do, especially without getting him much help from the rest of the team’s other receivers.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spread the ball to nine different receivers, with Smith-Schuster getting eight targets and six catches. Donte Moncrief, the top candidate to become the new No. 2, had 10 targets but managed only three receptions.

11 responses to “Mike Tomlin: JuJu Smith-Schuster is “used to” being double covered

  1. I know he’s the butt of every joke imaginable right now, but let’s be real – the only reason JuJu had the season he had was bc AB was the only who was doubled all the time. JuJu was not routinely doubled last year and there’s no way he’s “used to it”.

  2. It would be a lot harder to double-team him if there were other receiving threats.
    And, no. 2 yard swing passes to Ryan Switzer are not a threat.

  3. I can’t believe the Steelers are as bad as they looked the other night. Every good team has a couple times a year they come out flat and play horribly. Happens to the Pats too.

    I’ll wait and see the next couple games and see what happens before I think about writing that team off.

  4. How is Moncrief the top candidate for the #2 spot? He didnt have a good preseason, had a terrible week 1. What has he shown anyone to be #2? Washington has earned it by far!

  5. I guess he’s disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to fumble away the game. Little Ben and the rest of those mediocre talents stepped up and got the job done.

  6. The Steelers should of added more receivers to that roster via the draft. Outside of Smith-Schuster i’m not a believer in any of the receivers on that roster really though I do like rookie WR Diontae Johnson but he needs time to develop before he can be relied upon. There was some excellent receivers in this draft, after losing AB the Steelers should of traded back in the mid-late rounds moving around board to add more picks and drafted 2-3 WR’s in this draft. Look at Arizona, they drafted 3 WR’s and hit on all 3 drafting WR Andy Isabella w/ his elite 4.31 speed, huge fast 6″5 Hakeem Butler and 6″1 1/2 Keesean Johnson all 3 of whom AZ is sky high on and who all will be very good receivers in this league for a long time.
    Arizona got an absolute steal drafting 6″1.5 WR Keesean Johnson out of Fresno State who broke all of WR Devantae Adams receiving records at Fresno St & as his senior year in 2018 Johnson finished in the top 10 nationally with 95 receptions and 1,340 receiving yards (14.1 average) & 9TDs to garner second-team All-Mountain West accolades. He was labeled as the best pure route runner in the draft w/ excellent very strong hands. Johnson fell in the draft because on a sore hamstring he ran a 4.60 on a very sore hamstring. At his pro-day he right that wrong though running a 4.51 & 4.49 laser timed 40YD dash showing elite short-area quickness running a 6.81 sec 3 cone time & a 34in vertical. As an extremely polished route runner w/ elite short quickness/foot-speed he plays very fast on the football field. Since day 1 Johnson was extremely impressive on the field and was a star of both training camp & pre-season putting up 5 receptions for 48YDs in his debut w/ 2 clutch 4th quarter receptions posting a PFF grade of 71. Keesean Johnson was a huge steal for AZ in the 6th round as PFF had a 3rd round grade on him and that’s where he was widely expected to go before his combine, he’s a guy who very easily likely AVGs 70-85 receptions a season for 800-1000K YDs per season over his career. Keesean Johnson is going to be a stud #2 receiver in this league a long time.

    Looking at the Steelers competition in the AFC who all have extremely overly explosive offenses I think the above approach is the approach I thought Pittsburgh should of taken drafting 2-3 receivers, I mean they could of at least drafted two receivers in a draft that was loaded mid to late round (2nd-5th) receiving talent. I was not a fan of the Dontae Moncrief signing, the Steelers will be an extremely good team this season no doubt but WR is going to be a weak spot on that roster. I think they’ll draft a #1 WR fairly high in the draft to pair up w/ JuJu and possibly add another free agent, they need to get much more explosive offensively if they plan to compete w/ the Chiefs and Patriots in the AFC.

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