You could say JuJu Smith-Schuster is a little obsessed. He’s also passionate. Hungry. And clearly willing to do the little things to make his rookie season as successful as possible.
The Trib’s Joe Rutter spoke to the rookie’s work ethic during the spring. Not just what Smith-Schuster did during practice but after. After practice, he’d catch 12 sets of 20 passes out of the Jugs machine. He pushed himself to have no margin for error.
“All of them,” he told Rutter when asked how many of the 240 he’d catch. “If I mess up, I start the whole set over again.”
That’s some Antonio Brown level of work. It hasn’t taken Smith-Schuster long to develop an NFL attitude. His own personal work ethic, as his post-practice habits show, and his hand-in-the-pile attitude of doing whatever the team needs from him.
In the article, Rutter says Smith-Schuster has worked on the outside and in the slot and gotten red zone work with the first team. Even if he doesn’t beat out Eli Rogers for the starting slot job, perhaps he’ll have a red zone package given his size and toughness. Not to mention the Steelers’ woes inside the 20 last season, the one area which needs fixed in order for the offense’s paper talent to reach its on field production.
Pittsburgh finished just 16th in red zone efficiency in 2016 behind teams like the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. Yikes.
Smith-Schuster should help remedy that. And he’ll give AB a run for his money after practice at Latrobe. The equipment staff better order an extra Jugs machine.