Joining the team in free agency this off-season, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s early-season play can be described as solid — but not spectacular. After catching six passes for 79 yards in a Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals, his production fell in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Smith-Schuster caught just three passes for 10 yards in Thursday night’s win over their AFC West rivals Kansas City.
But the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver remains unconvinced about how his new team uses him.
“We talk about this all the time,” Smith-Schuster explained Wednesday before practice. “Anyone can get the ball. Anyone can play – no matter who is in that situation. Just know when to call your number: pretend. it’s him.
“I see myself as the man – wherever they need me – I’m meant to be that man. Inside, outside, whatever. If they need to block me, [I’ll] Come on block If they need me to do this or do this – I will. I’m an all-around guy.”
Like all receivers who have found success in Kansas City, Smith-Shuster recognizes the importance of mastering all the formations in head coach Andy Reid’s offense. He also felt that this kind of versatility suited quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ skills – and helped prepare the team for injuries.
“Knowing every situation, knowing that Pat can count on you, [and] that you know what you got on this route [or] On this play,” he said of the team’s expectations. “In a situation where someone goes down, you have to fill that void. Just because it’s a certain personnel [package] For a certain player – at the end of the day – everyone needs to know that position. Everyone needs to know that play because you never know when your time is called. ,
He also noted that when Mahomes famously commits crimes out of structureThe receivers themselves are improvising to help him.
“When Pat is scrambling [and] Out of pocket,” he said, “we’re all scrambling, trying to find a way to get the ball, catch the football, and play. That’s just the custom.”
And according to Smith-Schuster, such efforts are the norm now as he and his teammates work with their new quarterback throughout the off-season.
,[I am] Very comfortable,” he declared. “We have been practicing throughout OTA [and] throughout the camp. It’s something we do in sports, and I’m not surprised when we score on it. ,
Although he has yet to score as a major, his quarterback believes Smith-Schuster’s time is coming – and the team has already benefited from the receiver’s abstraction.
“He’s going to be a great player,” Mahomes predicted in his media commentary on Wednesday. “He’ll have a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns and all that. But the way he’s been able to be a leader in that receiving room — as someone who’s new to a team — me. Looks like it’s going to make this offense and this team even better, because you have a guy who comes to work every day and he puts in that work. He gets more and more opportunities as the season progresses. Will meet.”
The next opportunity will come on the road on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. While the 0-1-1 Colts have struggled early on, Smith-Schuster knows not to take them lightly, citing his experience against some of his best defensive players – such as cornerback Stephen Gilmore and linebacker Shaquille Leonard.
“Even though they are struggling right now, I think they are a great team,” he replied. “He’ll have a lot of puzzles — great pieces — that he has in his defense that’s going to fit in really well. I’m excited to go up against Gilmore — he’s someone I went against so many times Was when I was in Pittsburgh and he was in New England. It’s really cool. His middle linebacker – he’s the captain of the team – he’s been doing this for so long. I just have to give it to him. We take this game lightly Can’t take in – especially when it’s an away game.”
After Sunday, the Chiefs will begin a three-game segment of nationally broadcast games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders and Buffalo Bills. Smith-Schuster reiterated that the team’s focus can only be on Sunday’s matchup with the Colts.
“Honestly, I don’t even know who we have next,” he claimed. “I just know I have the Colts next. Every team is really, really good. I think you have to take it week by week. I focus on this week alone. The Colts – at Indy – are on our schedule for this week. Once we get past Sunday, Boom! , We’re on to the next.”