New England Patriots

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: JuJu Smith-Schuster #9 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

It’s now may, and kids across New England can feel just how close they are to school being out for the summer. But in Foxborough, the studying is just beginning for one of the newest members of the Patriots.

On Tuesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster spoke with Patriots media for the first time. For a team that projected to need an upgrade at the skill positions for 2023, he’s the top pass catcher they’ve brought in this offseason.

  • Part of what made Smith-Schuster a logical fit for the Patriots is his versatility. Throughout his career, he’s lined up in a number of different spots around offensive formations. Based on his experiences with the Patriots’ playbook so far, it seems as though that will continue in New England. When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he highlighted the importance of versatility of the offense.

    “What’s crazy about this offense that I didn’t know about until I got here was that there’s guys that play both ways,” He noted. “There’s guys that can play receiver, that can play in the backfield. Seeing that you can have so many different weapons with these players, it just gives Mac [Jones] these opportunities you know to do whatever he wants.”

    Of course, learning an offense as complex as what Smith-Schuster is describing isn’t going to be easy. That’s something else the 26-year-old wideout highlighted.

  • “I definitely am studying more. I’m getting the offense down and the terminology is different, than what I’ve done in the past,” Smith-Schuster explained. “But that just goes to say that like, these coaches are really, really smart when it comes to football.”

    “I feel like I’m back in college and school again,” he continued. “Like after this I’m going to go home for a couple of hours and study, get on some Call of Duty, and then get back into studying, go to my flashcards – I’m making flashcards. I got a lot of flash cards.”

    “Honestly, if you guys saw what we study – dude we should get like a college degree for doing that,” he joked.

  • Smith-Schuster’s comments on the seeming complexities of Bill O’Brien’s offense are certainly notable in the context of the offensive overhaul expected in Foxborough. At this time last year, coaches and players alike were talking about the ‘streamlining’ or ‘simplifying’ of the offense under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

    Now, it appears things are heading in the opposite direction. It was reported earlier this offseason by Albert Breer that O’Brien is “completely reworking the playbook,” and this is the first internal acknowledgement that seems to line up with that point.

    What exactly will that reworked playbook look like? It’s still too early to tell. We should get our first glimpse in a few weeks when the Patriots begin OTA practices at Gillette Stadium.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at

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