The Cincinnati Bengals faced the Washington Football Team in their second preseason game on Friday night and one of the biggest storylines was the lackluster performance from first-round rookie Ja’Marr Chase.
The Bengals spent the fifth overall pick on Chase despite him not playing in the 2020 season and so far, he’s looked exactly like a guy who took a year off from football. The rust still needs to be shaken off.
In Friday’s game at Washington, Chase was targeted three times by Brandon Allen (who started over Joe Burrow) and failed to haul in a single catch. Drops have been an issue for Chase during camp and watching him drop those passes was tough to watch.
With Chase’s not-so-stellar outing, it’s understandable for fans to be a tad worried about the rookie. That being said, should fans be panicking about Chase’s lack of production so far? No, definitely not.
Don’t panic about Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals fans.
As mentioned above, Chase opted out of the 2020 season, so his draft stock was based on what he did during the 2019 season. He was electric that year with Joe Burrow as his quarterback and the two having previous chemistry was obviously a big reason for the Bengals going in that direction with the fifth overall pick despite having massive needs on their offensive line.
Something else to point out here is that the Bengals didn’t have Burrow under center in this preseason game. Allen was running with the 1s and it showed with how little the offense was able to accomplish in the first half. The two clearly didn’t have chemistry on Friday night but it’s more important for the rookie to continue his chemistry with Burrow than anything else.
We’re two preseason games into the season and that makes this a dicey situation. Chase hasn’t looked good and looked downright bad in his latest outing but preseason is a time to work out these kinks.
Sometimes it takes rookies longer to adjust to the NFL and with Chase not playing last season, it’ll take him a bit longer to shake off the rust. If we’re a few weeks into the regular season and he’s still dropping would-be first down receptions, then we can start panicking but for now, Bengals fans shouldn’t lose sleep over it.