PITTSBURGH — If Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey was trying to get under JuJu Smith-Schuster’s skin before Sunday’s game, it didn’t work.
Ramsey told reporters on Friday that the Steelers wide receiver is not the same as one of his former teammates.
“No disrespect to him, he’s not Antonio Brown,” Ramsey said. “I matched up with Antonio there for two years, and that was a good battle, and I held my own in those battles, and yeah, now I’m going up against a different person, different body type, different receiver a little bit. He can make plays.”
After beating the Rams 17-12 on Sunday, Smith-Schuster agreed.
“He’s right, though,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’m not Antonio Brown. I’ll never be Antonio Brown. I am myself. I’m JuJu Smith-Schuster. I’m not as good as him yet. I think I still have time to proceed to get to his level. But we’re two totally different persons.”
Guarded sometimes by Ramsey and other times doubled, the third-year wide receiver was held to three catches on six targets for 44 yards in the win.
“He talks a lot,” Smith-Schuster said of Ramsey. “He talks so much. He said so many cuss words I’ve never heard of, and I’m 22 years old. He’s a good player, man.
“It’s a lot different than him being in Jacksonville, where he’s able to do whatever he wants. Over here, he has to pretty much do what he’s told. He has to listen to [Eric] Weddle. It’s different. It’s a great experience. I wish we had more balls thrown at us, but it’s hard when you’re double-teamed.”
The attention Smith-Schuster attracted freed up other wide receivers, including James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Washington set a career high with 90 receiving yards on six receptions and a touchdown, and Johnson had four catches for 64 yards.
“He knows that he’s going to attract that attention, flies, going into the game,” quarterback Mason Rudolph said. “We understand that someone else is going to step up. Diontae’s been doing it all year for us. James has been coming along the last couple games and making some big-time conversion catches. I think it just allows us to have more threats at the receiver position and maybe not allow them to double JuJu going forward.”
Even with other receivers stepping up, Rudolph acknowledged that getting Smith-Schuster more involved in the offense is a major priority.
“Diontae, James and Vance [McDonald], those guys make a lot of plays for us,” Rudolph said. “If you’re going to take two and cover someone, you’ve got to make sure it’s tight on the other end. I think that’s going to help us get the ball in 19’s hands. That’s at the top of my to-do list every week.”