October 1, 2023

Patriots

Smith-Schuster performed in simply 43 of the Patriots’ offensive snaps of their season-opening loss to the Eagles.

JuJu Smith-Schuster did not see an excessive amount of taking part in time within the regular-season opener. Winslow Townson/AP Photos for Panini

JuJu Smith-Schuster’s standing on the Patriots’ extensive receiver depth chart appeared to take a success of their season-opening loss to the Eagles.

The veteran performed simply 43 of the Patriots’ 80 offensive snaps within the sport, fewer than sixth-round rookie Kayshon Boutte. On the heels of the Week 1 loss, it was reported that the Patriots don’t view Smith-Schuster as considered one of their “5 best pass-catchers,” based on the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan.

A sign that the Patriots might need felt that method in Sunday’s sport got here of their remaining drive, which Smith-Schuster noticed from the sideline as he didn’t play a single snap within the two-minute drill.

Smith-Schuster downplayed that there might need been an even bigger purpose for his lack of taking part in time on Sunday, particularly in crunch time.

“No, I believe it’s only a state of affairs that we had been in and the personnel that was on the market,” Smith-Schuster advised reporters on Friday.

A part of the rationale why the Patriots reportedly don’t view Smith-Schuster as considered one of their high pass-catchers is expounded to the surgically repaired knee harm that bothered him within the 2019, 2020, and 2022 seasons, based on Callahan. The harm reportedly stored Smith-Schuster off the apply area in the course of the group’s exercises within the offseason after he aggravated it within the Chiefs’ run to profitable the Tremendous Bowl final season.

Smith-Schuster isn’t too involved although concerning the state of affairs together with his knee.

“Yeah, one hundred pc. I believe it’s one hundred pc,” Smith-Schuster mentioned. “I’ve been engaged on it on daily basis. It’s good being right here, discover a good routine, get in with the coach each single day to go on the market to carry out.”

Smith-Schuster performed in his common slot receiver position in Sunday’s sport, recording 4 receptions for 33 yards, but in addition had a reasonably large third-down drop. As Smith-Schuster averaged fewer than 10 yards per reception, Callahan reported that the group believes the knee harm has “diminished a few of his explosion and run-after-catch potential,” which helped him earn a three-year, $25.5 million deal from the Patriots this offseason.

In a separate dialog with MassLive’s Karen Guregian, Smith-Schuster as soon as once more downplayed that concern.

“No, I don’t assume so,” Smith-Schuster advised Guregian when requested if he felt he’s misplaced any explosiveness. “Clearly, the primary sport was robust for all of us. All of us have issues we have to get higher at . . . on the identical time, that’s a part of the method. You come to a brand new group, even after I was with the Chiefs, you begin out sluggish, sluggish. Even after I was with Pittsburgh, it was sluggish and sluggish. You’re nonetheless studying. It’s loopy, I’m 12 months 7 within the league, and there’s guys who’re 12 months 12, and also you’re nonetheless studying. “

Although there have been reported issues surrounding Smith-Schuster’s knee since he wasn’t round on the group’s offseason exercises, he has been lively and current ever since then. He practiced for everything of coaching camp and acquired related taking part in time within the preseason as the opposite Patriots’ starters.

Smith-Schuster additionally hasn’t missed a apply since coaching camp ended and hasn’t been on the harm report.