WR Coach Drake Says AB Must Be Patient

Steelers assistant talks about ‘demonstrative’ personalities

Josh Rowntree
October 17, 2018 - 1:37 pm
Steelers WR Antonio Brown and WR Coach Darryl Drake in 2018

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

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Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake has his hands full. 

On a daily basis, Drake has to deal with an All-Pro receiver in Antonio Brown who has an off-the-field list of issues too long to list, a second-year wideout on the verge of breaking into stardom in JuJu Smith-Schuster, a lack of consistency from the third wide receiver position and much more.

Brown is coming off what will be a major highlight in a long list of terrific plays throughout his career, having scored the winning touchdown against Cincinnati Sunday.

But Brown’s emotional state has been in flux on a consistent basis. His agitation with a lack of production has been visible. Drake, however, seems understanding.

“You do have to be patient,” Drake said. “Guys like Antonio and all receivers that I want to coach, I want them to want the ball in certain situations. But, at the same time, it is a patient game. You have to be patient, you have to let things come to you. And, when things come to you, you have to be ready to deliver.”

Delivering has never been an issue for Brown. The numbers speak for themselves. He is 16th in the NFL in yards, but second on the team behind Smith-Schuster. He is ninth in the NFL in catches, but has the second-most targets. Brown has seemed more satisfied of late and Pittsburgh’s two wins — coupled with his stronger performances — are likely a big reason.

“I’ve never had a great one that didn’t struggle with patience,” Drake said of Brown. “We all struggle with patience. I want my cake and pie and be able to eat them both at the same time. At the same time, I understand that you have to be patient in certain situations. He understands that and, again, he’s getting better and better with that.”

Dealing with outspoken personalities is something that comes with coaching the receiver position. 

“They’ve always been that way,” he said. “Heck, I was a demonstrative guy back in the day. I was always open. I could have five guys around me and felt that I was open. 

“As long as I’ve been in it, those guys — like myself — they’ve been that way. Guys may handle things a little bit different or be a little more demonstrative in this day and time. But that’s the way it is.”

There is little to complain about with Smith-Schuster right now. He is fifth in the NFL in receiving yards. But after he and Brown, there is a massive drop off from the position.

Ryan Switzer has the 67 receiving yards, the third-most on the team from the position. Ben Roethlisberger has yet to find a rhythm with Rookie James Washington, who has made five receptions. Justin Hunter has one catch. Those are the only five receivers to make a catch to this point.

“I’m never happy,” Drake said. “Because I think we can always do something better. That’s a process. We’ll keep pushing the envelope and wanting them all to continue to grow and get better, because that’s the only way we can reach the goals that we have. When I get happy, that’s a problem.”

Hear all of what Darryl Drake had to say below.