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Thread: 2019 Steelers by position: WR. Are we better off?

  1. #101
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    JuJu Smith-Schuster all business as he assumes No. 1 receiver role

    GERRY DULAC
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    JUN 5, 2019

    Back from the prom, JuJu Smith-Schuster has traded his matching green velvet tuxedo with bell-bottom pants for the practice jersey he has worn every day of the Steelers’ offseason training activities.

    Three weeks into OTAs and Smith-Schuster hasn’t missed a day of the workouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, sending a message to everyone that he is all about commitment and winning. In that time, the Pro Bowl receiver can also be found all over social media, whether dancing on stage at a Juice Wrld concert at Stage AE, distributing Heinz ketchup at Kennywood or attending the Chartiers Valley High School prom with a male student who asked him to go.

    He even bought the matching tuxedo for him and student Anthony Molinaro.

    “I picked ‘em out,” Smith-Schuster said. “Green velvet, suede, with bells. But it was hot in that suit.”

    Smith-Schuster was hot in his regular Sunday suit in 2018, eclipsing the production of Antonio Brown and leading the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. Three of his seven touchdown catches were for 67 yards or longer. He also caught a 97-yard touchdown for the second year in a row, giving him three scores of 96 yards or longer in two seasons.

    He enters his third NFL season as the team’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, now that Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders. And he has made a point to show up every day for the voluntary OTAs on the South Side to mesh with the two new receivers on the team — veteran Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson – and serve as something of a role model.

    “It’s very important,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday after practice. “There are some new guys on the team, and building that chemistry and that connection means a lot. Me just being here, being around other guys, shows I’m ready to play, I’m all about the team, I’m all about us. We’re here for one reason.”

    Replacing Brown’s incredible numbers — he was the most productive receiver in any four-, five- and six-year period in NFL history — will not be easy. But Smith-Schuster said he loves the new players in the receiving room and is excited about the development of James Washington, last year’s second-round draft choice.

    Moncrief was acquired in free agency after catching 74 passes for 1,059 yards the past two seasons from Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Now he gets to run routes for Ben Roethlisberger.

    Johnson, a third-round pick who was the second player selected by the Steelers, has similar athletic measurables to Brown but is considered a better route runner. He even played in the same Mid-American Conference (Toledo).

    “Everyone is there for each other,” Smith-Schuster said. “There’s no individual. Everyone’s into playing, winning games, the Super Bowl. Everybody’s on the same page. Yesterday we dominated, today we dominated. You can see that connection with Ben, with [Josh] Dobbs, with Mason [Rudolph].”

    Johnson did not participate in team drills the first two weeks of OTAs because of a hamstring injury, but he has been out there the past two days. Smith-Schuster said he takes Johnson out to eat and shows him the city to help him get acclimated to his surroundings, both on and off the field.

    On the field, he noticed one overriding element:

    “Speed, man,” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s a speedster, but he has great hands.”

    About Moncrief, he said, “His routes are so crispy, so nice. He’s a nice route-runner, a big solid dude, too. You can put him outside, put him inside, he knows how to run his routes, how to run against a linebacker versus a corner. He’s a very smart guy, one of those you can look up to.”

    That’s what Smith-Schuster is trying to do every day at OTAs.

    https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/...s/201906050132

  2. #102
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    Don't write off AB helping the Raiders offense this season too quickly:

    If we look at routes that the Raiders employed frequently and Brown did run more often in Pittsburgh, the new Oakland receiver doesn’t compare that favorably to the production offered by Oakland’s 2018 receiving corps. On slant routes — short patterns run across the middle of the field at an angle — his expected points added (EPA) per play relative to the Raiders’ receivers was pedestrian. Oakland was collectively more than half an expected point better per play on slants than Brown was in Pittsburgh — with Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Seth Roberts all more productive on the route. Cook may end up leaving in free agency and could free up some of those targets, but Brown may not be able to make much of an impact in the short-area portion of the Raiders passing game.Antonio Brown can help the Raiders most on deeper routes

    Expected points added in the 2018 season by route type for wide receivers on the Oakland Raiders and for Antonio Brown
    EPA PER TARGET
    ROUTE NAME RAIDERS RECEIVERS ANTONIO BROWN EPA DIFF.
    Comeback -0.52 +1.27 +1.79
    Go -0.11 +0.85 +0.96
    Seam +0.94 +1.80 +0.86
    Flat +0.08 +0.40 +0.32
    Out +0.20 +0.52 +0.32
    Curl +0.20 +0.40 +0.20
    Fade -0.17 -0.31 -0.14
    Dig +0.29 -0.20 -0.49
    Slant +0.61 +0.05 -0.56
    Post +0.27 -1.03 -1.30
    Positive EPA difference reflects routes where Antonio Brown was more productive than the Raiders receivers collectively.
    SOURCE: SPORTS INFO SOLUTIONS
    There are also other concerns. Brown was ineffective in the middle of the field in general in 2018, posting negative EPA on digs and posts — two other in-breaking routes. He increasingly ceded targets over the middle to Juju Smith-Schuster, who is bigger, younger and perhaps more eager to put his body on the line for a reception. With no guaranteed money in Brown’s contract, self-preservation could have been a contributing factor to his seeming unwillingness to catch balls over the middle last season. At least that’s what the Raiders are hoping is the case: The alternative — that Brown is declining and no longer able to produce over the middle — is slightly terrifying for a team that just made Brown the highest-paid receiver in the league.
    ........

  3. #103
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    Dobbs’ Overview Of Steelers Wide Receiver Group: ‘There’s Some Dynamic Players’

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on June 5, 2019

    The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a talented group of wide receivers this summer despite the trading away of Antonio Brown in March and after the team’s Wednesday OTA practice, backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs gave an overview of that particular position group.

    “Yeah, there’s some dynamic players,” Dobbs said, according to audio on 93.7 The Fan. “Of course there’s JuJu [Smith-Schuster]. James [Washington] has taken a lot of steps in the right direction. Ryan Switzer’s a matchup issue. Eli [Rogers]. New additions like Donte [Moncrief], you know, he’s definitely come in and is making an impact early and often and catching a lot of balls. And then we have a lot of new guys that have come in and are really doing a great job making plays for us at quarterback, given us confidence. So we’re excited to see how that room shapes out.”

    While Dobbs didn’t mention the Steelers rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson, the team’s first of two third-round selections this year, during that rundown of players, he did mention the Toledo product earlier in his Wednesday interview.

    “Diontae [Johnson] is pretty special as well,” Dobbs said. “He’s a tough guy to guard. I can just tell by the reaction from the defenders. And he seems to catch everything thrown in his direction. So, those are guys that you look forward to get the balls in their hands and let them just go make a play.”

    In addition to him thinking that he has a great group of wide receivers to throw to throughout the remainder of the summer, Dobbs also likes the overall demeanor of the group as well.

    “I think what’s also great is, they’re great players, but they also have a great camaraderie in that room,” Dobbs said. “And I think that’s what helps them not only compete with each other on a daily basis but push each other to get better. And that helps us at the quarterback position as well.”

    Not only do the Steelers have the wide receivers that Dobbs rattled off on Wednesday on their offseason roster, they also have a few more talented players that play that position in Diontae Spencer, Trey Griffey, Johnny Holton and Tevin Jones and all four have some level of experience at the professional level.

    Spencer, who has never played in as much as one a preseason game since going undrafted in 2014, has played in 57 total games in the CFL with two different teams over the course of the last four seasons on his way to registering 259 total receptions for 3,137 yards and 19 touchdowns.

    Holton, on the other hand, has some limited NFL game experience on his resume as the former undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati previously spent time on the rosters of the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders and has caught 11 passes for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns.

    As for the other two young wide receivers not mentioned Wednesday by Dobbs, Griffey and Jones, both were with the Steelers last year during training camp and the preseason and both ultimately landed on the team’s practice squad last September and remained there all season. Griffey caught 4 passes for 44 yards last year during the preseason while Jones registered 4 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.

    The Steelers will keep at least five wide receivers on their 53-man roster to start the 2019 regular season and possible even as many as six. While JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington and Johnson should account for four of those spots, the other one or two spots on the 53-man roster figure to potentially filled by Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers, Spencer, Holton, Griffey or Jones. All things considered, that’s not a bad looking group of 10 wide receivers for Dobbs and the rest of the Steelers quarterbacks to work with the remainder of the summer.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/do...namic-players/

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    JuJu Smith-Schuster all business as he assumes No. 1 receiver role

    GERRY DULAC
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    JUN 5, 2019

    Back from the prom, JuJu Smith-Schuster has traded his matching green velvet tuxedo with bell-bottom pants for the practice jersey he has worn every day of the Steelers’ offseason training activities.

    Three weeks into OTAs and Smith-Schuster hasn’t missed a day of the workouts at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, sending a message to everyone that he is all about commitment and winning. In that time, the Pro Bowl receiver can also be found all over social media, whether dancing on stage at a Juice Wrld concert at Stage AE, distributing Heinz ketchup at Kennywood or attending the Chartiers Valley High School prom with a male student who asked him to go.

    He even bought the matching tuxedo for him and student Anthony Molinaro.

    “I picked ‘em out,” Smith-Schuster said. “Green velvet, suede, with bells. But it was hot in that suit.”

    Smith-Schuster was hot in his regular Sunday suit in 2018, eclipsing the production of Antonio Brown and leading the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. Three of his seven touchdown catches were for 67 yards or longer. He also caught a 97-yard touchdown for the second year in a row, giving him three scores of 96 yards or longer in two seasons.

    He enters his third NFL season as the team’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, now that Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders. And he has made a point to show up every day for the voluntary OTAs on the South Side to mesh with the two new receivers on the team — veteran Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson – and serve as something of a role model.

    “It’s very important,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday after practice. “There are some new guys on the team, and building that chemistry and that connection means a lot. Me just being here, being around other guys, shows I’m ready to play, I’m all about the team, I’m all about us. We’re here for one reason.”

    Replacing Brown’s incredible numbers — he was the most productive receiver in any four-, five- and six-year period in NFL history — will not be easy. But Smith-Schuster said he loves the new players in the receiving room and is excited about the development of James Washington, last year’s second-round draft choice.

    Moncrief was acquired in free agency after catching 74 passes for 1,059 yards the past two seasons from Jacoby Brissett in Indianapolis and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Now he gets to run routes for Ben Roethlisberger.

    Johnson, a third-round pick who was the second player selected by the Steelers, has similar athletic measurables to Brown but is considered a better route runner. He even played in the same Mid-American Conference (Toledo).

    “Everyone is there for each other,” Smith-Schuster said. “There’s no individual. Everyone’s into playing, winning games, the Super Bowl. Everybody’s on the same page. Yesterday we dominated, today we dominated. You can see that connection with Ben, with [Josh] Dobbs, with Mason [Rudolph].”

    Johnson did not participate in team drills the first two weeks of OTAs because of a hamstring injury, but he has been out there the past two days. Smith-Schuster said he takes Johnson out to eat and shows him the city to help him get acclimated to his surroundings, both on and off the field.

    On the field, he noticed one overriding element:

    “Speed, man,” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s a speedster, but he has great hands.”

    About Moncrief, he said, “His routes are so crispy, so nice. He’s a nice route-runner, a big solid dude, too. You can put him outside, put him inside, he knows how to run his routes, how to run against a linebacker versus a corner. He’s a very smart guy, one of those you can look up to.”

    That’s what Smith-Schuster is trying to do every day at OTAs.

    https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/...s/201906050132
    Juju says "speed" about Johnson. Which tells me that what Colbert thought about Johnson is true; Johnson is a monster coming out of his breaks. Seems that Moncrief is on point as well. Now if Washington has taken that next step then all of a sudden we have a pleasant problem of a top heavy WR team (factoring in Rogers and Switzer too).
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    Don't write off AB helping the Raiders offense this season too quickly:

    ........
    Who????????

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Who????????
    Exactly........never heard of the guy.
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

  7. #107
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    This WR group has a lot to prove on the field. But I like our chances better with this group working hard together towards a common goal, the Super Bowl. Much more than having AB working solely for his personal stats and more money, then pouting, arguing and quitting on his team like a spoiled brat.

  8. #108
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    Thursday, Jun 06, 2019 02:22 PM

    'Our room will be electric'


    Mike Prisuta

    Steelers.com


    The wide receiver group is a position in transition, and one free agent addition Donte Moncrief insists will be built from the bottom up.


    “As (receivers) coach (Darryl Drake) said, you’re always going to be as strong as your weakest guy,” Moncrief observed. “In our room we try to pick everybody up, make sure everybody’s on the same page and make sure everybody’s ready to go to play every position.


    “If we can do that, our receivers room will be electric.”


    Moncrief’s theory: As long as they stay plugged in, they’ll have a chance to shine brightly.


    “You have to take it from meetings onto the field,” he said. “If you can do that, you’ll produce.”


    With five NFL seasons under his belt, Moncrief leads the Steelers’ new-look receiving corps in experience.


    He’s also the Steelers’ most accomplished receiver statistically, with 200 career NFL catches for 2,543 yards and 21 touchdowns to his credit (just ahead of the 169 receptions, 2,343 yards and 14 scores JuJu Smith-Schuster has amassed in two seasons).


    Most of the rest of the group lacks a track record but not potential, Moncrief maintained.


    His observations on a few of them through three weeks of OTAs included:


    Dionte Johnson: “He’s fast, he’s very quick and he has great hands. Once he learns the whole playbook he’s going to produce. On that field, he’s super fast.”


    James Washington: “They said he was kind of big last year. Since I’ve been here and watching him you can tell he’s been working on stuff. His hands are super strong, he’s explosive and he can jump out of the gym. I feel like he’s going to have a good year this year.”


    Smith-Schuster: “He’s a smart guy. You can tell he’s been under somebody who knew the game. He’s learned a lot, he’s learning how to read defenses and he’s a trusted guy. He’s going to catch the ball, he’s going to make plays and after the catch he’s going to make a lot of yards, that’s a good thing.”


    The challenge for the receivers, individually and collectively, will be to keep the offense humming minus the production the Steelers had come to annually expect from Antonio Brown.


    That worked out to 104 catches, 1,297 yards and 15 TDs in 2018.


    The 10 players competing at wide receiver throughout OTAs have taken a critical first step toward compensating, Moncrief maintained.


    “They’re doing well,” he said. “They’re picking up the offense and they’re learning defenses. You can tell they want to learn and they’re coming out here working every day, thats all that matters.


    “If you come out and work and do everything right, everything else will fall into to place.”


    https://www.steelers.com/news/our-room-will-be-electric
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  9. #109
    Hall of Famer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Maniac View Post
    Juju says "speed" about Johnson. Which tells me that what Colbert thought about Johnson is true; Johnson is a monster coming out of his breaks. Seems that Moncrief is on point as well. Now if Washington has taken that next step then all of a sudden we have a pleasant problem of a top heavy WR team (factoring in Rogers and Switzer too).
    Hoping this is true.

    But it's also puff piece season. Remember how Bud was going to be DPOY?
    Last edited by Northern_Blitz; 06-06-2019 at 04:28 PM.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern_Blitz View Post
    Hoping this is true.

    But it's also puff piece season. Remember how Bud was going to be DPOY?
    True................
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

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