The Steelers are counting on our ‘star’ Wide Receiver to return to his 2018 form
For the Steelers offense to get back on track, the following two things must happen and they probably need to happen simultaneously: a commitment to running the ball more consistently must occur and a commitment to getting the passing game back on track must occur.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, our former second-round pick in 2017, is coming off a season in which he missed 4 games, caught 42 passes for 552 yards, and 3 TDs. That is a far cry from the production he enjoyed in 2018 where he grabbed 111 passes for 1426 and 7 TDs. He was also voted team MVP in 2018.
This is the kind of production the Steelers offense will need this season from Smith-Schuster if we are going to be successful in the passing game. The offensive woes last season have been well chronicled. There was no vertical passing game to speak of. I think, to some degree, that facilitated the drafting of Chase Claypool in the second round of this year’s draft.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the Steelers offense performs at its peak when we have a balance between the running game and the passing game. It also seems to perform at its peak in the passing game when we can throw the ball deep down the field and not have to rely on ‘bubble screens’ or the short passing game and hope someone makes a play.
If Smith-Schuster can return to his 2018 form and Claypool can provide the speed we need to get the deep passing game going, we should be just fine this season, at least in that respect.
Let’s move forward with this discussion.