The young wideout credited Brown as a "great player" who "dominates" on the field, and didn't bite when asked about previous social media exchanges between the two players. Smith-Schuster, however, also noted that things are quieter in the locker room without Brown.
"The chemistry is on point," Smith-Schuster said Wednesday, via the Associated Press. "Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There's really no -- how do you say? -- drama in our locker room."
Smith-Schuster now vaults to the clear No. 1 receiver in a receiver corps that looks much less dangerous without Brown. Behind JuJu sits second-year wideout James Washington, slot receiver Ryan Switzer, free-agent addition Donte Moncrief, Eli Rogers and third-round rookie Diontae Johnson, among others.
Smith-Schuster noted that everyone who was around the past several seasons learned from Brown's work ethic.
"I think everyone picked it up, not only us as receivers but everybody on the team," Smith-Schuster said. "They all see how AB worked. They've seen how he came out here every day and he just ran hard, 100 percent."
Still just 22 years old, Smith-Schuster is prepared to be the lead dog in Pittsburgh.
"Being a young guy in a room, being 22, I feel like a French bulldog, you know, just barking at everybody," he said. "At the same time, they've got dogs too, so they can bark. I like that role."