Well, it’s safe to say that the JuJu Smith-Schuster era in New England has not gotten off to a good start.
Hopes were high for the veteran wide receiver after he signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Patriots in the offseason. Expectations became even higher after New England failed to acquire DeAndre Hopkins, making Smith-Schuster the team’s No. 1 receiver by default.
But so far, he’s looking like a total bust.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Patriots
Smith-Schuster’s first two games with the Patriots — both losses — have been a massive disappointment.
In Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Smith-Schuster finished with 4 catches on 7 targets for 33 yards. More notably, he was only on the field for 54% of New England’s offensive snaps and was benched during the team’s two-minute drill at the end of the game.
Week 2 didn’t go much better. The Patriots lost again, and Smith-Schuster didn’t start the game. He played a bit more (59%) of snaps and caught 5-of-6 targets, but managed just 28 receiving yards and was held scoreless again.
Obviously, that’s not the type of impact New England’s looking for from the former Pro Bowler. His 6.8 yards per catch is the lowest rate of his career, and his 30.5 yards per game is the second-lowest besides his injury-shortened 2021 campaign.
Patriots fans aren’t happy with those results, and neither is Smith-Schuster. He’s expressed his frustration and knows he needs to play better.
To be fair, maybe we should have expected this. Playing in a new offense with a new quarterback isn’t easy, and Smith-Schuster has been slowed by a knee injury as well. He’s also miscast as a No. 1 receiver, so it’s unfair to expect that type of production from him.
Still, New England needs more from him if it wants to turn its season around. He’ll have a chance to redeem himself against the Jets in Week 3, but patience is already running thin.
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