It’s been a tough rookie camp for fifth overall pick Ja’Marr Chase. Bengals fans had high expectations for Chase after Chase won the Biletnikoff award in 2019, helped lead LSU to a national championship, and QB Joe Burrow more or less demanded the Bengals draft him with fifth overall pick.
But during rookie camp and during the preseason, the Bengals rookie has had a significant case of the drops.
And Chase had interesting reasoning as to why he has struggled, and it led to a pseudo-testy back-and-forth between Chase and one prominent NFL reporter.
First, here is Chase on the footballs:
“The ball is different because it is bigger,” Chase said, via Bengals.com. “It doesn’t have the white stripes on the side so you can’t see the ball coming from the tip point so you actually have to look for the strings on the ball at the top, which is hard to see because the whole ball is brown and you have the six strings that are white. But for the most part, I just have to get used to it and find out what I am comfortable with catching.”
“I don’t want to blame it on me sitting on my butt the whole year, but it probably had something to do with it, of course,” Chase said. “There’s a bigger ball adjustment, so I don’t want to make excuses but I’ve just got to be a pro and make the catch.”
It's an interesting twist, but one guy wasn't buying it: Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. On Thursday, he wrote:
"Of course, every single rookie has to make the exact same adjustment, and we haven’t heard any other rookies blame the footballs for dropped passes. Chase also said sitting out the 2020 season has him rusty, but he acknowledges that it’s on him to make the necessary adjustments."
To which Chase then felt the need to more or less immediately respond.
Ok let’s dissect this story here…
On its face, it doesn’t look really good for Chase here, regardless of the context. Sometimes honesty is not the best policy. The BS public relations cliché quotes could have been used here. It’s also a crazy excuse on Chase’s part. As a former mediocre high school football slot receiver myself, I’ve definitely had my cases of the drops. And there is no way in hell I would have thought to make an excuse to my coaches, let alone talk about the size of footballs in the media.
It’s ironic he’s blaming the NCAA ball when Chase did not play a single snap of college football last year. He spent the entire year preparing for the NFL draft, you would think he would have caught an NFL football or two. So Chase has had a rough camp, he was a little rusty, let’s call it that.
The media journalist, who asked this question got the quote of a lifetime for what in 99 percent of cases goes down as a stupid question.
Thank you to Chase for giving us the content we want.
But let’s not get outraged too much about the size of (foot)balls here. It could have been worse, Chase could have opened up that hestruggling with coping with the death of his online girlfriend, captured the hearts of the nation - until the world found out that said girlfriend doesn’t actually exist. Oh sorry, that was Manti T'eo.
Well that was at least creative, this sounds dumb.
So as much as Florio loves to stir the pot, Chase deserves some crap for this. He can shut us all up with a big performance against the Vikings poor secondary on Sunday.
If you watched any of Chase’s highlights at LSU, we know Chase can catch a football.
Run with the joke, let’s not take every quote seriously and just enjoy we get football back this Sunday.
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