The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is excited about the 2019 season, but are also a bit apprehensive when it comes to life without Antonio Brown. While mainstream media continues to suggest the loss of Le’Veon Bell, who didn’t play a snap in the NFL last season, will impact the team, losing Brown’s 15 touchdowns is a legitimate concern.
Many are wondering if JuJu Smith-Schuster will be able to fill the shoes of Brown and be Roethlisberger’s top target this season. Well, if there is one thing going the Steelers’ way at this point it is the fact Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster have a very good rapport on the football field.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently released an article ranking the Top 10 current QB/WR duos regarding ‘catchable target percentage’. How did PFF come up with these statistics?
Charting every throw at the NFL level since 2006, we at PFF have labeled all passes with an intended receiver as either catchable or uncatchable. Below is a list of the top-10 active wide receivers with the highest catchable target percentage in the regular season of the PFF Era (2006-19).
Take a look at the Top 10:
6. JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, BEN ROETHLISBERGER, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
79.5% Catchable Target Percentage
Save for the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh threw on downs with a distance of five yards or less more than any other team in 2018 (158). The key reason for this? Roethlisberger’s catchable pass percentage, or more specifically, his catchable pass rate when targeting Smith-Schuster.
In just two seasons with the Steelers, the USC alumnus has become the number-one pass-catching option on one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL and has done so by securing 70.5% of balls deemed catchable that come his way.
5. Mohamed Sanu, Matt Ryan — Atlanta Falcons
4. Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers — Los Angeles Chargers
3. Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins — Minnesota Vikings
2. Michael Thomas, Drew Brees — New Orleans Saints
1. Cooper Kupp, Jared Goff — Los Angeles Rams
Looking at the above list, Smith-Schuster and Roethlisberger being so high on the list certainly is impressive considering they only have two years together, but it also should be a bright spot for the fan base as the team now prepares for the 2019 season without Brown in the 412 area code.
What do you think of the list? Do you see the Steelers duo being ranked just right? Or do you think their ranking is bogus? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for training camp at the end of this week!