JuJu Smith-Schuster: Lack of drama boosts Steelers’ Super Bowl prospects
JuJu Smith-Schuster is confident that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and the wide receiver believes one key difference from last season will boost the team’s prospects for success: Lack of off-the-field drama.
The Steelers have successfully navigated, in a manner of speaking, the departures of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, two disgruntled players who contributed significantly to the dysfunction that plagued the team last season.
Smith-Schuster recently stated the anticipated lack of drama will make for a more harmonious locker room, which will in turn contribute to victories, especially given the Steelers are perceived as underdogs in the AFC North.
“Most definitely,” Smith-Schuster said in London this week while serving as an ambassador for the new NFL Academy, as transcribed by Steelers Depot. “Like I said, the guys that we have, like I said, there’s no drama in our locker room.
“In our AFC, we’re not like the head team, everyone’s talking about the Browns. You know that kinda gets pressure off of us because now we’re kind of like the underdogs. But then again, you know, there’s no focus on us. Now we just just play ball and now we just focus on game by game, week by week. And yes, I think we have a huge, huge opportunity to make the playoffs and make a big impact.”
Smith-Schuster did not specifically single out Bell and Brown in his comments, but it’s easy to infer that their presence won’t be missed when it comes to fostering a drama-free locker room.
The comments from the young wideout certainly echoes what teammates James Conner and Ben Roethlisberger had to say recently about the Steelers, when it comes to the outlook for next season amid the absence of malcontents on the roster.
The Steelers obviously will have to figure out how to replace the productivity of both Brown and Bell in the offense. With Conner capably doing so while Bell sat out last season and Smith-Schuster elevating his game in Brown’s shadow in 2018 — not to mention Big Ben orchestrating everything — the Steelers arguably are poised to rebound from a frustrating 2018 campaign.