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JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mason Rudolph Throwing in California

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Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and quarterback Mason Rudolph were getting some offseason work in yesterday from sunny Southern California, courtesy of videos shared on the former’s Instagram.

After finishing last season on IR with a shoulder injury, the Instagram stories from mark the first time Rudolph has thrown in a public setting. While none of the videos show Rudolph driving the ball downfield farther than about 15 yards, it is still a good sign that he is making progress and likely close to full health.

While appearing to not be running routes full speed yet, Smith-Schuster seems to be recovering nicely from the knee and foot injuries that he struggled with much of last season. Throw in the concussion he suffered and the inconsistent quarterback play, and you can see why Smith-Schuster’s numbers took the dip they did in 2019.

Although it is exciting for Steelers fans to see two of the team’s young contributors getting some work in together, they are not exactly following the indefinite stay-at-home order instituted by the state of California amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, “the workout had fewer than ten people participating and everyone took precautions.”

Rudolph is coming off a season where he went 5-3 as a starter, tossing 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He threw for just over 176 yards per game, completing 62% of his passes. Based on everything that has come out of the Steelers organization this offseason, Rudolph seems firmly entrenched as the team’s backup quarterback heading into 2020.

After an exceptional sophomore season where he caught 111 passes and was named to his first Pro Bowl, Smith-Schuster saw his production drop drastically last year. He played in 12 games, catching just 42 passes for three touchdowns. A fully healthy Smith-Schuster should bounce back in a big way in 2020 with the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

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