Report: JuJu Smith-Schuster is ‘not presently among the many group’s 5 handiest pass-catchers’


Smith-Schuster’s place on the depth chart is reportedly on shaky floor.

JuJu Smith-Schuster. Winslow Townson/AP Photos for Panini
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JuJu Smith-Schuster didn’t obtain the sort of workload anticipated of a No. 1 receiver on Sunday throughout the Patriots’ season-opening loss to the Eagles.

He performed 43 of New England’s 80 offensive snaps. Rookie receiver Kayshon Boutte performed greater than that. And, these numbers got here in a sport that DeVante Parker missed totally.

On Tuesday, receivers coaches Troy Brown and Ross Douglas mentioned that Smith-Schuster’s taking part in time was matchup-based. It was depending on the personnel packages they had been utilizing.

If that’s the case, then why didn’t the Patriots coaches really feel comfy utilizing extra packages that concerned Smith-Schuster, significantly at key factors late within the sport?

It’s not a conditioning subject, coach Invoice Belichick mentioned Monday.

In accordance with Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, the difficulty is effectiveness. He wrote in a latest column that “a number of group sources consider Smith-Schuster will not be presently among the many group’s 5 handiest pass-catchers.”

A part of the issue is that Smith-Schuster’s knee will not be one hundred pc wholesome, Callahan wrote.

The Patriots wanted a receiver that would rack up yards after the catch, and Smith-Schuster gave the impression to be that man on paper. However, thus far via coaching camp and the regular-season opener, he hasn’t constantly showcased these talents with the Patriots.

Earlier this month, Smith-Schuster pushed again on a report from Sports activities Illustrated’s Albert Breer that mentioned the receiver’s knee was “a multitude.” Smith-Schuster mentioned he appears like his knee is “getting stronger daily.”

Patriots coach Invoice Belichick referred to the harm report when requested about Smith-Schsuter’s well being.

In accordance with Callahan, Parker is predicted to start out when he returns from his harm, whereas Smith-Schuster will battle with rookies DeMario Douglas and Boutte for spots in three-receiver packages.

Smith-Schuster did have some manufacturing throughout Sunday’s sport. He caught 4 passes on seven targets for 33 yards.

Whereas Boutte had a pair of targets in clutch conditions on the finish of the sport, he didn’t have any catches. Douglas’s manufacturing was just like Smith-Schuster’s: 4 catches on seven targets for 40 yards.

It’s too early to name Smith-Schuster’s snap rely a sample after only one sport. However, it’s one thing that raises questions for the man who was signed to exchange Jakobi Meyers.