It was an ugly Friday night for rookie Ja’Marr Chase.
Chase, the Bengals’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, didn’t play too much, just a couple of series, but he did get enough targets to put together his worst professional showing.
Now, there are several things to remember.
The first being that Chase has played one competitive game since the 2020 NCAA National Championship. He sat out his junior season at LSU and then opted to head to the NFL instead of playing as a senior.
The second is that Chase was being thrown to by backup quarterback Brandon Allen, likely doing most of his training with projected starter Joe Burrow. The chemistry between Allen and the receivers wasn’t there.
That’s still no excuse for his three drops.
His drops were bad and inexcusable. Head coach Zac Taylor, who is entering his third professional season with just six wins, was asked about Chase’s struggles, and his answer was rather blunt.
Here’s the snippet that ESPN’s Ben Baby tweeted.
Here's what Bengals coach Zac Taylor had to say about WR Ja'Marr Chase in light of his drops/performance tonight. pic.twitter.com/j30dXQvwZ7— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 21, 2021
The Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway noted the attitude that it came with was “very short and to the point.” It’s on par for Taylor, and it goes to show that he’s not going to be content with these types of mistakes.
The Bengals will need better from Chase, who many hope will turn into this generation’s A.J. Green, but every player has off games. Thankfully, it’s still the preseason, so there aren’t any real consequences to these struggles.
Chase’s night ended without a single reception. He now has one reception for 16 yards in the Bengals' two preseason games and should look to get a bit more action in their preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins.
They’ll finally be at home for their game with Miami and then into the regular-season opener against Minnesota as well.