The Bengals used the fifth overall choice on LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase. They have to hope his rookie regular season goes better than his rookie preseason.
Chase has struggled with dropped balls.
He addressed his problem holding onto the ball Monday, saying it stems from a lack of concentration, and admitted he didn’t get as much out of the preseason as he and the team had hoped.
“I know I left a lot of stuff out there,” Chase said, via Ben Baby of ESPN. “But that’s all in time for me to get better, of course. I’m not afraid to get better. That’s what I’m here for — to work, to get better, make the team better, make the organization better.”
Chase dropped 4.8 percent of his targets in 2019 at LSU when he won the Biletnikoff Award given to the best receiver in football, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He failed to catch four of five targets in the preseason.
“If you look back at it, I jumped in the air when the ball got to me,” Chase said. “That means my eyes weren’t concentrated on the ball. I didn’t keep still. So that makes my eye adjustment for the ball move around.”
Chase opted out of the 2020 season, so he hasn’t played in 20 months. That could have played a part in his slow start. Chase also referenced the bigger ball the NFL uses that has different markings.
He catches 40 tennis balls a day to work on his hand-eye coordination, Chase said, and he also spends time with the JUGS football machine.
The Bengals maintain confidence in Chase, who still has confidence in himself despite his recent butterfingers.
“Everyone wants to see this and that, but I’m excited to show literally me, myself,” Chase said. “I’m excited to do what I came here to do.”