Chase also stays after practice each day, working on the JUGS football throwing machine to continue working on his catching.
“I strive to get better every day I come onto the field,” Chase said. “It’s just executing every day. That’s the thing. You don’t want to mess up twice. That’s something nobody out there wants to do. I’m just out there trying to compete with the guys and make the team better.”
While much has been made about the inconsistency displayed so far, his teammates have seen enough dazzling catches from him to know what type of positive impact he can make for the Bengals offense.
Fourth-year receiver Auden Tate said Chase has remained calm through the ups and downs and fits well with the receiver corps.
“I wouldn’t say he’s struggling at all,” Tate said Wednesday. “He’s been great since he’s been here. I just think it’s an adjustment to the NFL, and, obviously a year being out. I think he’s been picking up the playbook very well, he’s been picking up his game. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Chase isn’t concerned, either. He remains confident the consistency will come.
Cincinnati Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase (1) makes a catch against Chidobe Awuzie in a drill during an NFL football practice in Cincinnati, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Credit: Aaron Doster
Credit: Aaron Doster
After winning the national championship with current Bengals teammate Joe Burrow and LSU in 2019, Chase sat out his junior season and then went straight to the draft. His sophomore season he finished with 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns on 84 receptions but now he’s trying to get back into the routine of team football again while adjusting to a higher level of competition in the NFL.
“I would say the only difficult thing was my quickness,” Chase said. “Not as in quickness like with athletic ability, but mind quickness, reaction time quickness. That’s what it’s all about. Me sitting out that whole year definitely showed when I got back out here. I thought everything was going to be fine for me and then that was one thing of the game phase I was having trouble with.”
Chase said he’s feeling better every day and making adjustments faster now than he was at the start of camp.
His first big test will be Saturday when the Bengals play their first preseason game at defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay. That will be his first competition against an opposing team since Jan. 13, 2020.
“I’ll say (preseason games) will be pretty big, because I know a lot of people want to see me play,” Chase said. “I’ve been out for a whole year and they want to see what I’ve been doing this whole time. Just for me to come out and make a mark on myself and prove to everyone else who I am.”
Stepping onto the field Saturday for his unofficial NFL debut will be something special, he said, noting it will finally feel like he really achieved his childhood dream.
“It’s just a blessing to be here, of course, but I am pretty much getting excited,” Chase said. “I’m just taking it day by day right now, it’s still just a big process for me going into the game. I still have to get better on some of my plays. I’m just trying to progress and get better every day.”
Bengals at Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m., Ch. 12 (Cincinnati), Ch. 22 (Dayton); 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7