Even when the Pittsburgh Steelers are not meant to be the topic of conversation for the sports talk shows, it sometimes feels that shows like Undisputed with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless on FS1 would have nothing to talk about if they did not keep mentioning the Steelers on a daily basis. The latest example of this coming on Tuesday when Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen appeared as a guest.
Given the team that he plays for, it is perhaps understandable that the hosts of the show ran out of things to talk about when it comes to the Chargers and it was not long before the Steelers came up during the conversation. And despite playing seven years for the same team on the other side of the country and only playing Pittsburgh twice in his entire career, it appears that Allen has his own unique insights into some of the personalities on the Steelers roster.
Asked how Antonio Brown will fare in Oakland with Derek Carr at quarterback, Allen suggested that AB would continue to be successful given the Raiders’ talent under center. A quarterback who he believes is very similar to Roethlisberger, if not better.
“But one’s young, no Super Bowls, less ego.”
And when asked how JuJu Smith-Schuster would deal with being the No.1 receiver, Allen had a something of a warning for the young wideout.
“Life-changing, life-changing. It’s gonna be hard to sleep at night trying to find ways to get open. Different routes, different coverages you’ve got to look at. Double teams, double pressures, just everything, the whole game changes. But it’s going to get better for him because he’s just gonna learn and he’s just gonna get more and more experience.”
Glossing over Allen’s gross mischaracterization of Roethlisberger and Carr as being in any way equal in talent and the shot at Big Ben’s personality, it is hard to imagine that anything will keep Smith-Schuster up late at night other than a video game.
The young Steelers receiver has already eclipsed Allen’s best ever season tally in only his second year in the league and it would be fair to question just how many more routes Smith-Schuster can be expected to learn. Having lined up all over the field, it seems likely that the former USC product probably knows more route combination that receivers with far more experience who spend most of their life on the outside.
How quickly Smith-Schuster adapts to being double-teamed most of the time will be the key to his success in 2019, but a number of underrated weapons at the other receiver spots should mean the offense will not falter too much while he learns.