Richard Mann On JuJu Smith-Schuster: ‘He’s Starving For Knowledge’

Consider JuJu Smith-Schuster a starving artist of sorts. Or maybe just starving. That’s how wide receivers coach Richard Mann described him speaking to the media, one of the rare times during the year Steelers’ assistant coaches get some facetime with reporters.

“He’s a quick study,” Mann said via Steelers.com. “He loves football. He’s been on the big stage before, being at USC. He’s starving for knowledge. He’s easy to coach, he listens. He can figure out when he’s making mistakes and how to correct it. I think that’s the biggest thing I found out about him. He really does not like to make mistakes. It kills him. Therefore, he works hard at not making mistakes and that’s what we see on the field.”

We’ve seen Smith-Schuster act as his biggest critic even in the middle of a historic game. He dominated a week ago against the Detroit Lions but according to what Ben Roethlisberger said post-game, was beating himself up for dropping a crucial third down pass. He rebounded by catching the next two and closing out the victory.

Even with the bye week, he’s still doing laps around the rest of the rookie receivers. He ranks first in all three major receiving categories; receptions, yards, and touchdowns. And if he continues the pace he’s on, could wind up setting some franchise rookie records.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Steelers use him with Martavis Bryant’s presumed return. Smith-Schuster has continued to make the case, both on and off the field, that he’s the more valuable asset and done more to prove himself in 2017. The best thing for this offense may be to make Smith-Schuster the permanent #2 receiver in two receiver sets and then kicking him to the slot anytime the Steelers go 11 personnel (which is often and still allows for plenty of snaps for Bryant).

But you go with the hot hand. Few are hotter than JuJu Smith-Schuster.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Where are all those critics of using a 2nd round pick on a WR?

  • Steve Johnson

    Route Running: Martavis Bryant – Deep Route and Slant. JuJu Smith-Schuster – a combination of routes, better at running his routes. It will be interesting, teams can’t double and tripple team A.Brown. Then there is L. Bell as well and M. Bryant. Pick your Poison Defensive Coordinators.

  • Dorian James

    WE,are still here. Your post is a little late, as I and several others have already confirmed that we were wrong about the pick. I’ve also eaten crow over TJ Watts 1st round selection

  • Applebite

    AB, JuJu, and Bryant should be their default.

    I understand bringing in Eli and the others from time to time. But those three should be on the field at all times, unless the formation says otherwise. Put JuJu in the slot and let him do his thing, and have Bryant stretch the other side of the field. And having a TE that can do his part would help also. The 3 wide Single Back set is so underrated in Pittsburgh. There’s simply no excuse for not running this formation, not with this kind of talent available. This is more of a Haley experimenting issue, than one of talent.

  • Rotten Sircus

    We have the BEST WR Group in the NFL !!! That is All …

  • Cullen James Riley

    Yeah, I was definitely a guilty party. I’m the type of fan that trusts the Steelers organization, but every single draft think they are insane (usually the guys I want in the first round are either already taken or fall to like the fifth round haha – for instance Adoree Jackson & Desmond King).

    I was more upset about the selection of a WR in the 2nd than I was about a LS in the 6th. Turns out, this season has felt like ’73 when the Steelers had two good WR’s in Ronnie Shanklin & Frank Lewis before making the idiotic decision of drafting Lynn Swann & John Stallworth. Hahaa.

  • Dwight Brautigam

    I would imagine that our opponents are a bit miffed at the Steelers WR riches.

  • David Shoff

    I love juju, but it can’t be discounted that Bryant STILL commands deep safety help which opens up the field. I really hope Bryant and Ben get on the same page because that could make this offense awesome.

  • Mark

    I’m looking forward to see a 3 WR set with Nix in the backfield or Vance at TE. We are setup to run/pass at a moments notice and gives Ben multiple opportunities depending on the defense. Defense will have to play a nickel against our 3 WR set and thus opening to the run with Nix or Vance on the field. If you bring a safety into the box, then the passing game should deliver big plays

  • Intense Camel

    Haley is every defensive coordinator’s antidote.

  • Jim Foles

    thanks to Haden now everyone is happy.

  • FATCAT716

    Good point

  • hdogg48

    I don’t see how we could have drafted any TE that would offer more than the
    skill set that JuJu offers as a slot receiver, outside receiver, run blocker
    and downfield blocker on short completions.

    He was drafted in case Bryant couldn’t stay clean, but he has
    emerged as a tough, smart,versatile player…a vital cog in
    our offense going into the second half playoff run.

  • hdogg48

    Did you see Ross Cockrell sniffing Yeldon’s
    f arts on that TD bomb given up by the Giants
    to the Rams yesterday?

    Without Haden there is a good chance we’d be 4-4…or worse.

  • Mr jack

    Bryant is the one who makes this offense go and without him it will bog down again.If Been picks his game up our offense will not be stopped.

  • NCSteel

    I was so upset at that pick and yet now, just as happy to admit I was wrong as anyone could be.
    I see different skill sets amongst the WR which is fantastic. No reason to have a Kelvin Benjamin and a Devon Funchess on the field at the same time.

  • will

    If he is “starving for knowledge” then does not that imply he is not getting it?

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    No he’s just like The Flash he has to eat 300 tacos a day worth of knowledge.

  • 太阳三联

    Wtf? No it means he wants to see shxt from all angles

  • JNick

    This guy
    I don’t mind being wrong though.
    I also don’t act like I’m right all the time. I was really happy with the TJ Watt pick. Hated the Senquez Golson pick. Loved the Javon Hargrave pick. Hated the Jason Worilds pick, and so on and so on. At the end of the day, like the picks or not, I hope they all do well.

  • PaeperCup

    I don’t think we were necessarily wrong. For a WR, I like many others thought he was a good prospect….the question was did we need a WR?

    Looking back of course hind sight is 20-20….but we still could have used a ILB. We still could have picked up a CB. We could have drafted a TE.

    I’m beyond pleased with JuJu, but there were positions that needed to be filled in that draft that still haven’t really been addressed.

  • Steve

    Paeper – Could have should have’s, can’t double think yourself with a player of Juju caliber being available to us, you always go after the best player available, which he is and was a Great pickup.
    We will be missing Coach Mann after this season, who is doing a Great job with the WR group. Thank You Coach Mann and good luck.

  • Steve

    Cockrell is not half the player Haden is, good riddance Ross.

  • Steve

    Much of that is do to Richard Mann’s coaching.

  • Steve

    Bryant can help us most in the Red Zone.

  • Steve

    Jessie was drafted in 2015 in the 5th round.

  • Dorian James

    ” wrong” probably wasn’t the proper word. Because as a USC fan I knew what Juju was, and I still questioned the pick, for the same reason you just mentioned. I was definitely looking for that safety or cornerback. I felt like we were loaded at wide receiver already.

  • Weaser3655

    Richard Mann cant retire! He’s the Mann. Gotta be best wr coach ever!

  • TroymanianDevil

    We can never be happy, we must always criticize everything

  • TroymanianDevil

    That’s a great attitude to have, I almost feel like some fans ( obviously not just Steelers fans) want players to fail just so they can say I told you so. I was mildly surprised myself for sure as well, but I just trust the organization. I thought that either they weren’t completely happy with the WRs ( which I guess turned out to be true ) or they just thought he was that good ( maybe partially this too ). The main reason I’ve shifted from an armchair GM to a much more calm armchair GM is that we never know the mental aspect of these guys. We see combine numbers and watch games. I think understanding what makes the prospects tick is maybe the most important thing, yes even more than raw talent ( hello Martavis ). So I’ll trust Colbert and Tomlin on that stuff b/c I don’t ever get to interview the prospects myself haha. Also props for admitting you being “wrong”

  • TroymanianDevil

    Puts it into perspective I would say haha. Props for admitting being “wrong”

  • Kevin Schwartz

    I was pretty surprised – you could also argue that if we didn’t pick up Haden and were starting Cockrell we might be wishing we’d picked up a corner in the 2nd. But, once I looked at the highlights and got to know JuJu I was fine with it and started to like him.

  • TroymanianDevil

    Sure that’s fair. I’m obviously not going to critique hypothetically drafting a CB in the 2nd. I think b/c 395 CBs were draft before our 2nd, they felt the value wasn’t there anymore. And I’m very big on value in the draft. I’ll admit I was mildly surprised but I understood the pick immediately. Don’t reach based off need, stick to your board and trust it. Didn’t see a lot of value with any available defensive players. And I think the value was definitely there for Juju at the time so I was fine with it

  • TroymanianDevil

    It’s not directed at anyone in particular, so no need to get upset. And how late can I be? His breakout game was 1 week ago. Sorry if that’s being “late”, I can’t check through the every comment, every day, to make sure people admit they were wrong?
    Also I don’t think 1 big game qualifies as “he’s a stud” now. Sammie Coates had a few “breakout” games last year. Stats can be overrated. I’m saying this about Juju, NOW, b/c hearing something like this let’s me know that he’ll continue to progress and reach his potential. He’s got that extra level of desire that you need to be great, something that no combine numbers or film can show. Martavis has more physical ability but I question his mental toughness and fire to play at times. So sadly I don’t know if his potential will ever be reached.
    It was also just a general statement and a reminder to trust the organization more. I do understand the questioning for sure, I of course do it myself. But in general I just trust the organization as a whole. And save my criticism for when we lose to the Bears or Ben throws 5 picks.
    Lastly, props for admitting you were “wrong”. Lot of people wouldn’t do that. Although many people apparently happy to admit they were wrong about Juju judging by the amount of replies I got haha

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Yup, I agree – I wasn’t huge on them drafting a receiver, but was fine with it after people were saying we got a good one. Not gonna lie – thought we had bigger areas of need – thought MB would be better than this, and was hoping Coates would come back and be decent. But, they were calling him a slot/possession receiver, and he seemed to have more upside than Rogers, so I was okay with it because the skill sets weren’t redundant.

  • will

    Brilliant

  • francesco

    JuJu was drafted in order to give competition to ERogers. Also the Steelers were not sure if Coates was going to get better at catching due to his mangled hands.

  • francesco

    Ben took the week off!

  • francesco

    Lol.

  • francesco

    JuJu was probably available to us in round 3. We could have gone ILB in round 2.

  • francesco

    You got that right.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    No idea – I don’t follow the draft that closely.

  • Dorian James

    You took that completely the wrong way, there’s no Angry here. You didn’t say anything worth getting angry about. Sorry for the misunderstanding

  • Reggie Cunningham

    that’s my rookie of year for the steelers. i think he beats out Watt

  • Todd Borax

    Great coach, dopey earring.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The Steelers have had good success getting later round WR’s so going for a guy in the 2nd tells me they thought very very highly of him. I see an Anquan Boldin potentially and maybe even better. He is off to a good start.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I am going to miss Mann. Coaches like him do not come around often. I am worried at what might be around the corner for us…hopefully not another Montgomery.

  • Brenton deed

    I think he was drafted because they had a mid/late first round rating on him and all the second round worthy DBs were gone.

  • Brenton deed

    Don’t forget the scouting.

  • 2winz

    Remember Hines Ward? Same exact problem. He was not the most athletic, tall, or explosive guy like Randy moss/T.O. type. But he outlasted every receiver that came to Pittsburgh. That includes 1st rounders and talented players like plaxico burress and santonio Holmes. JuJu will more than likely do the same because you can’t teach heart!

  • will

    Then he is hungry for knowledge.

  • SilverSteel

    Luv me some JuJu but your right. Without the dumb luck of the Browns gifting us a top CB, we would be still be wishing for stability in the D and probably not making a SB run with HFA. IMO

  • SilverSteel

    Really, ya think he lasts till round 3? He’s better than that. 🤑

  • SilverSteel

    That’s the first thing I thought. After months of daily grind, I would hope we gave him as much knowledge as he could handle. Why starving?

  • SilverSteel

    I thought Hines was his understudy. Hope so. That would be awesome to have him replace Mann

  • francesco

    In all the mock drafts by supposed experts I never saw JuJu’s name?! We probably could have got Conners in the 5th and Dobbs in the sixth.

  • They actually run 11 personnel the most I believe. It is shown on the offensive charting notes.

  • Aj Gentile

    I was hope they would get Dylan Cole at ILB. I dont think he was even drafted and has played well for the Texans

  • Aj Gentile

    I doubt JuJu would’ve made it out of the second.

  • Aj Gentile

    Is that with sour cream and Guacmole?

  • PaeperCup

    No doubt it’s a great pick, I’m just saying that we weren’t wrong in questioning the pick at the time.

  • TroymanianDevil

    no prob. Sorry I misread it

  • will

    Then craft a transparent toilet. 😜

  • 太阳三联

    😂😂😂