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Ja’Marr Chase enduring rookie struggles

Hopefully just normal growing pains.

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Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Joe Burrow in the first round last year. They dipped back into the LSU well for the first round again this year, and got Burrow’s best target from the Tigers.

The Bengals had a dire need to help fix the deep ball, and the Burrow-Chase duo did that better than anyone else in the nation. In fact, they were arguably better than anyone else in college football history.

Burrow had a seamless transition to the NFL. Entering the draft and the offseason during the COVID-19 pandemic, he wasn’t able to have a full training camp and preseason. That didn’t stop him from having a very solid rookie season.

His friend Chase isn’t having such an easy time.

Paul Dehner Jr. has been reporting out of training camp, and says that Chase is not looking like what we thought he would, though it’s obviously very early in what hopes to be a very special NFL career.

“You see flashes of that early,” he said in an Athletic article posted on Monday, “But you also see somebody tentatively getting used to a new offense, new league and not playing football since January 2020. He has endured a string of drops, on short and long passes, with another coming Sunday. He has not shown as much separation as you’d hope, and the contested balls haven’t gone his way much, either.”

Dehner made it very clear that it’s not time to panic yet, and that it’s still entirely possible that he will turn things around soon.

Still, Bengals fans were hoping for an A.J. Green-type rookie season from Chase. Despite entering the NFL with no real offseason due to the 2011 locker, Green still managed to have 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns in his rookie season. There’s still a chance that Chase can be that guy, but it’s taking longer than we would like.