Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



JuJu Smith-Schuster made an odd statement comparing Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to New York Jets QB Sam Darnold, who was Smith-Schuster’s teammate at Southern Cal:

“That my guy, man. Sam Darnold. If we could get him to Pittsburgh, I would. But I love Ben, so it is what it is. I’m just saying he’s a great kid. I played with him, so he’s one of my boys. So I wouldn’t mind playing with him again.”

That almost sounds like Smith-Schuster is saying he’d replace Roethlisberger with Darnold if he could. “It is what it is.”

But Roethlisberger is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has two Super Bowl rings and is resurrecting Smith-Schuster this season, raising his value as Smith-Schuster heads into free agency after he flat-out stunk last year when Roethlisberger was hurt.

It would be harsh to say Darnold has sucked in his brief pro career, which is in its third season. But it’s not much of an exaggeration.

Darnold’s career high for touchdowns is 19, set last season. The last time Roethlisberger had fewer (excluding last year) was 2010, when he played just 12 games.

Darnold’s best passer rating was 84.3, also set in 2019. Roethlisberger hasn’t come in lower since 2008.

Darnold’s completion percentage last season was 61.9, his top mark. Roethlisberger last did worse in 2014.

The current stats:

Roethlisberger has thrown seven touchdowns and one interception. Darnold is at three TDs and four picks.

Roethlisberger’s passer rating is 105.2. (Note to Ben: Shoot for 105.9.) Darnold’s is 70.7.

Roethlisberger’s completion percentage is 67.0. Darnold’s is 61.5.

Roethlisberger’s Steelers are 3-0. Darnold’s Jets are 0-3.

How could Smith-Schuster possibly mean what it looks like he meant?

If Smith-Schuster wants to again play with Darnold, he could sign with the Jets next season. He’d be the perfect Jet, just like Le’Veon Bell.

Courtesy of Getty Images

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