Mike Tomlin: Stats don’t tell whole story for JuJu Smith-Schuster

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One of the questions the Steelers faced this offseason was how wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster would fare as the No. 1 receiver in the wake of Antonio Brown’s departure.

If one were to go strictly by the numbers, it hasn’t gone well. Smith-Schuster had 111 catches for 1,426 yards last season, but is on pace for 66 catches and 918 yards this season. He’s been held under 20 receiving yards three times this season.

Any discussion of Smith-Schuster’s production has to take into account the loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to an elbow injury in the second game of the regular season. Accordingly, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that his assessment of the wideout’s play isn’t rooted solely in the statistical realm.

“I have no issues with how he has handled himself in some of those matchups,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Statistics might not tell the story because of a lot of things going on around him. I like his work. I like his professionalism. I like how he wins his one-on-ones. Hopefully, it’s a catalyst for us getting more traction and consistently moving the ball offensively.”

The Steelers have won three straight to change the trajectory of a season that started with a 1-4 record. If those numbers continue to look good, it will be easier to deal with any individual ones that might be falling short.

18 responses to “Mike Tomlin: Stats don’t tell whole story for JuJu Smith-Schuster

  1. This was bound to happen because he’s now playing the #1 position and doesn’t have AB opposite him.

    He’s not a #1 and now everyone who doesn’t have a blindfold on can see it.

  2. Smith-Schuster had 111 catches for 1,426 yards last season

    Any discussion of Smith-Schuster’s 2018 production has to take into account
    the 650 yards gained from bogus pass interference penalties by corrupt nfl officiating.

  3. I will comment in front of the inevitable anti-JuJu posts and say this: I was at the Colts game and focused on JuJu a fair amount. I thought he got a decent amount of separation and there were several snaps where he was very open over the middle and Rudolph didn’t find him. Rudolph seems to make one outside read and then dump down. Hopefully, as Rudolph gets more confident he will work the middle of the field more, which is where I think JuJu can be most effective. While JuJu had the tip that led to the interception against the Colts and the killer fumble against the Ravens, I still think he is a very good receiver.

  4. doctorrustbelt says:
    November 6, 2019 at 7:45 am
    Smith-Schuster had 111 catches for 1,426 yards last season

    Any discussion of Smith-Schuster’s 2018 production has to take into account
    the 650 yards gained from bogus pass interference penalties by corrupt nfl officiating.

    PI yards aren’t added to a players stats. But good try.

  5. “JuJu is the best receiver the Steelers ever had.”

    — Cornerbacks eager for game winning fumble recoveries

  6. JuJu is a great complimentary piece, top tier #2 WR. But nobody outside of Pittsburgh ever thought he was a real #1.

  7. He’s not a #1 and now everyone who doesn’t have a blindfold on can see it.

    I lol take the blindfold if you’ll take the glasses because you are watching Homer Vision. It’s a team game even more so without Ben to carry the offense.

  8. It makes a big difference to a receivers stats having a good QB vs. having a bad one.
    JuJu is a very good #2 receiver.

  9. As long as he does not get unduly frustrated with his opportunities, it is ok.

    Fine line. When Brown did not see 15 catchable balls a game he would meltdown. On the one hand a tough teammate, on the other, a guy who rewrite record books. I expect Juju is quietly pushing his case. I hope so.

  10. joetoronto says:
    November 6, 2019 at 7:37 am
    This was bound to happen because he’s now playing the #1 position and doesn’t have AB opposite him.

    He’s not a #1 and now everyone who doesn’t have a blindfold on can see it.
    ——————————————————-
    I doubt you have watched a single Steelers game since Roethlisberger went down. They haven’t let Rudolph or Hodges throw down field much. JuJu has never been a short range target in his NFL career.

  11. You can’t expect one’s stats to be the same after you replace a QB like Big Ben with Mason Rudolph. Anyone’s production would suffer.

    Their biggest problem is their defense. It’s terrible. Minkah Fitzpatrick has helped but it still has a lot of holes.

  12. On the opening drive against the Colts Juju had 2 drops. Before the pass that clanged off of his hands for the interception Juju dropped that long pass. A difficult catch but it did hit his hands. Is he a number one receiver or not? Two overtime fumbles causing losses — the fumble against the Saints last year knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs and the one this year was against the Ravens essentially knocking the Steelers out of contention for a division title — interceptions off his hands. drops, etc. it makes you wonder. #1 receivers should play big in big games.

  13. I come at this as a Steelers fan. Even bought my son a signed JuJu jersey for his birthday… so you know where my bias lies. JuJu as a teammate so far, from what I can see from the outside has been second to none. But so far he is IMHO a lower tier #1, or the best #2 receiver in the league. Rudolph isn’t as good as I had hoped he’d be, and JuJu is suffering from that. Hopefully, he’ll get a good #1 QB back next year, and we can see what the real JuJu w/o AB turns out to be.

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