Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers are ready to step up in All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown's absence.
And for the final two weeks of December, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster will get a chance to see who is No. 1, writes TribLive.
With All-Pro receiver and NFL MVP candidate Antonio Brown on the shelf likely until the playoffs with a left calf injury, the Steelers will turn to Bryant and Smith-Schuster to help pick up the slack on Christmas against the Houston Texans and again on New Year's Eve against the Cleveland Browns.
“This is a minor setback for me but not this team,” Brown tweeted. “The goal is still the same & I'm confident that we can & will achieve it.”
Bryant and Smith-Schuster figure to be the starters, with Eli Rogers manning the slot and Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter filling in.
“You know it changes (the plan),” coach Mike Tomlin said. “AB is significant, but I thought that the guys did a nice job of adjusting and making plays largely. When you lose somebody like AB, there is an adjustment.”
Smith-Schuster is second among Steelers receivers with 43 catches, 699 yards and five touchdowns. Bryant has 41 receptions for 478 yards and three touchdowns. Eli Rogers is the only other receiver with double digits in catches (16 for 142 yards).
“We came together as a group and played hard for our brother,” Bryant said. “He's the best in the NFL. We just wanted to go out and play hard for him.”
Rogers said he and others are ready to take on a bigger role.
“Without a guy of that caliber, the best receiver in the world and he goes out,” Rogers said, “you've got to step up as a receiving corps.”