Bleacher Report recently released their quarterback and wide receiver duo rankings. Here’s why Steelers Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster aren’t ranked high.
For nearly a decade, Ben Roethlisberger had uncanny chemistry with Antonio Brown on the football field. Ben knew that Brown was always going to be where he needed to be, and when the play broke down, they could practically read each other’s minds. Unfortunately, the Steelers quarterback hasn’t yet proven to have the same type of chemistry with JuJu-Smith-Schuster.
Brown forced his way out the door in a way that left a bitter taste in our mouths. Steelers fans would love nothing more than for JuJu to fill his shoes without missing a beat, but that’s unlikely to happen.
Ben and JuJu played just a game-and-a-half together before the Roethlisberger landed on IR, their connection seemed to be going pretty well. However, recent quarterback and wide receiver duo rankings predict that their connection will be nowhere near as strong as the one that Ben and Antonio Brown shared.
According to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, the combination of Ben Rothlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster ranks just 14th in the league in quarterback and wide receiver duos. Miller used a composite score comprised of a Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders data in addition to his own evaluation and conversations with NFL scouts.
Unsurprisingly, Kansas City finished first in the rankings with a lethal duo of Patrick Mahomes and Tyreke Hill. However, there were some very surprising selections just above Pittsburgh. The Colts ranked 12th with their combination of Phillip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton – a duo that has yet to play together. Likewise, a combination of Josh Allen and Stephon Diggs (who also haven’t played together) ranked just above the Steelers at 13th on the list.
Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster, however, did beat out tandems like Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay (15th), Carson Wentz, and Alshon Jeffery (16th), and Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham (17th).
Still, this ranking is admittedly underwhelming. For the Steelers to have success on offense this year, Ben and JuJu need to be more than just an average quarterback and wide receiver pairing.
Roethlisberger hasn’t played much with James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Now, with several additions to the offense including Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool, it will be very interesting to see who he favors in the passing game and how he divvies out targets.
Ideally, Ben needs to have a good connection with several receivers this year for Pittsburgh’s offense to be successful. But it’s also hard to have an elite offense without a go-to guy. Hopefully, Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster can build that chemistry quickly.