3 Cincinnati Bengals who need to step up in 2021
By Alex Austin
Cincinnati Bengals who need to step up – No. 1: Ja’Marr Chase
It has been no secret this preseason that Ja’Marr Chase is struggling to catch the football. Drops have been the name of the game in several practices and then on full display in his time in preseason games.
Yes, Chase sat out the entire 2020 season so this is his first football action in two years and is at a much higher level than at LSU, but the Bengals need Chase to be a weapon. And for Chase to be a weapon, he has to catch the ball to be considered any kind of a threat.
Cincinnati recently moved on from John Ross who had many of the same issues Chase is showing us now and that might explain why some Bengals fans are panicked over Chase’s lackluster preseason. Ross was physically gifted but could not be counted on to reliably catch the ball. This might be expected for a late-round pick up, but for a wide receiver taken in the top ten, this is a major issue.
The Bengals have all the pieces in place to have a special offense this year, but if Chase falls flat that will greatly impact what Cincinnati can do schematically. Especially for the long-term outlook of the Bengals, Chase finding his hands is the top priority this season. He is the biggest player that needs to show improvement, and he has yet to even play a snap in an NFL regular-season game.
If these three Bengals can play to the level we know they’re capable of, 2021 could be a surprisingly fun season for this team.