Ja’Marr Chase had an explosive first half of his rookie year, but his fire has fizzled out in the last few games.
Since gaining an NFL-record 754 receiving yards in his first seven games, he only has 204 yards in the last five.
Chase has drawn attention after his explosive start, and teams are starting to prepare for him differently. Mike Tomlin said before the division matchup that opposing teams are trying to “making a concerted effort to minimize” Chase.
Chase would agree that teams are trying to make stopping him a priority.
“I’ve been getting a lot of cloud lately. That makes my route change when I get cloud coverage,” Chase said, according to the Bengals’ website.
Cloud coverage, which is a variation of Cover 3, means that Chase is getting jammed at the line. If he can beat the coverage, there will be a safety deep to keep Chase from getting open down field.
Chase said in cloud, defenders are “Bumping me, trying to make me slow down my route, get me out of the play, take me out back side. I’m pretty sure that’s slowing me down now. I have to make the adjustment to beat double teams.”
But Chase can only control what he can control. He said he’ll have to work on only the things he can work at on his own.
“It’s just adjusting on the fly, not messing up assignments. Make sure I’m on the same page with the quarterback, no MA’s (missed assignments), penalties, no drops.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is trying to help put Chase in as good of a situation as he can.
However they can, the Bengals need to get him the ball.