4 things the loss of WR JuJu Smith-Schuster means for the Steelers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a huge win on Sunday over the Denver Broncos but at the same time suffered a major loss. The shoulder injury suffered by wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to require surgery and will end his 2021 season.

Here’s what losing Smith-Schuster means for the Steelers.

James Washington's time to shine

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming he can get past the groin injury that sidelined him last week, this is a golden opportunity for James Washington to step up. With 12 games left, Washington should see a huge increase in reps, and with his ability to play inside and outside will mimic a lot of Smith-Schuster’s game.

Chase Claypool to thrive in the slot

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s any player on the roster who will benefit from this it might be wide receiver Chase Claypool. Claypool’s game is built for the slot and without Smith-Schuster in there yesterday, Claypool thrived. I’m not ready to say the offense will be better without Smith-Schuster but Claypool might be.

The end of the JuJu Smith-Schuster era

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Everyone thought Smith-Schuster was going to sign somewhere else in the offseason and braced for life without him. Then Smith-Schuster returned and everyone was excited again. But now this feels like the end of an era for Smith-Schuster as a Steeler.

More tight ends in the offensive game plan

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday we saw the Steelers turn a corner with their rushing attack. Part of this was due to Smith-Schuster’s ability to block. Without him, offensive coordinator Matt Canada might want to see more from his tight ends in the offense including Zach Gentry and rookie Pat Freiermuth.

1

1