Zac Taylor shuts down talk of Ja’Marr Chase’s ‘inconsistency’
At first, it was the drops. Now, it’s the slight “inconsistencies.” Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase hasn’t buried his critics just yet.
A brave reporter asked coach Zac Taylor what he thought about Chase’s “inconsistency” in the last two games. Which is, of course, referring to the handful of times Chase failed to catch some very reasonable balls thrown his way, both downfield and in the end zone.
Call Taylor a devout man, because he still believes in Ja’Marr Chase. Taylor said:
"“We’ve really been able to count on Ja’Marr. We targeted him several times yesterday and he came up big for us, six yards after the catch which is really impressive. He had the fumble, that was tough, and then he had two down-the-field difficult catches that he can make, he’s made those plays before because he’s a really good football player in this league.”"
In Week 9’s loss to the Cleveland Browns, Chase caught six of 13 targets (recording a 46.2 percent catch rate) and finished with 49 receiving yards.
Those numbers are only marginally better than last week, when Chase caught three of nine targets for 32 yards.
What happened to the rookie who was setting NFL records earlier in the season?
According to Taylor, he’s still there.
"“Yesterday just wasn’t his day down the field in that regard, but I thought he made a lot of plays for us. When we put the ball in his hands, he usually rewards us…He’s been one of the top receivers in this league for nine games now.”"
Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor never doubted Ja’Marr Chase’s abilities
Well on his way to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, Chase has encountered but a small snag in his development in the pro league.
Through nine games, he’s caught 44 catches for 835 yards, averaging an incredible 19.0 yards per catch. He also has seven touchdowns and leads the team in nearly every receiving category except for catch rate (60.3 percent).
Taylor goes on in his press conference to say this two-game losing streak is Cincinnati’s “first real stretch of adversity,” and in many ways, it’s Chase’s first real test, too. (Preseason hardly counts.)
We’re not saying Chase was taking his chemistry with Burrow for granted, but everything came almost too easy for the former LSU duo. Chase was recording several 100-plus yardage games along with scores every week, and now, he’s realizing that kind of production may not be sustainable given this Bengals team in 2021.
The Week 1 through Week 7 Bengals team was an anomaly. The Week 8 and Week 9 Bengals may be the more accurate portrayal of a team that rose too high too quickly.
Chase looked inexperienced and sloppy at times in the last two weeks, but expectations of his performance need to be kept in line with that of the Bengals offense as a whole. Don’t call him inconsistent — yet.