JuJu: James Washington will ‘sneak up on everybody’
Together with Antonio Brown out west, JuJu Smith-Schuster is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh.
However, the Steelers still must figure out that Ben Roethlisberger’s second option will be.
Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer, Eli Rogers and rookie Diontae Johnson should all see focus from Big Ben, but based on Smith-Schuster, second-year receiver James Washington will likely be Pittsburgh’s breakout pass-catcher in 2019.
“But you speak about a young dude who’s up and coming, it’s going to be James Washington,” Smith Schuster told ESPN. “A man from Oklahoma State, came to the Steelers his rookie year, started off slow but figured it out and got the ropes down.
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“Last year summer workouts which we had, he’s been performing amazing, a fantastic job. I’m super excited to see how he does this season. He is our guy that’s going to sneak up on everybody.”
Washington began six games in his rookie season, behind Brown, Smith-Schuster and Switzer, and caught 16 balls on 38 targets for 217 yards and a touchdown. His 42.1 catch percentage was the lowest on the team one of skill players with at least 14 targets.
Washington should observe an increase in playtime from 2019 from last year’s 526 snaps (47.1% ), and the recipient has been readying himself for a much bigger workload. Washington told The Athletic during offseason workouts he fell 15 pounds to 210 in prep for the upcoming campaign.
The receiver confessed that he was”burnt” in his rookie season through which he watched his snap count his quarterback criticize him on radio. All that has encouraged Washington to prepare for the upcoming training camp of Pittsburgh.
“I am just trying to come in more confident,” Washington told The Atheltic’s Mark Kaboly in May. “It wasn’t that I played confidence last year, but I wanted to come back in with that feeling of urgency that I felt as though I lacked just a little last year”
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