Ja’Marr Chase is facing too much pressure as a rookie wide receiver

Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports /

Former LSU football wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase isn’t having much fun in the NFL right now.

Chase was selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The pick was a bit controversial due to the Bengals’ need for offensive line help.

Chase, however, was the pick because of his prior relationship with quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Chase/Burrow connection was extremely fruitful at LSU. In 2019, Chase caught 84 passes for 1,785 yards and 20 touchdowns.

It’s easy to see why the Bengals wanted to try to recreate that magic in Cincinnati.

Ja’Marr Chase is struggling with drops in Cincinnati

The Chase/Burrow connection may end up paying off big time with the Bengals.

But for now, there’s considerable doubt that it will be as beneficial as it was for LSU.

That’s because Chase has struggled mightily during training camp with drops.

Chase had a terrible outing in Cincinnati’s preseason game against the Washington Football Team, dropping three passes. He followed that up with a couple of drops in the team’s next practice.

On Sunday, in the Bengals’ final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, Chase dropped his only target from Burrow.

It was an unceremonious end to a tough preseason for Chase.

At this point, it feels like Chase has way too much pressure on him. He’s expected to be an instant top wide receiver in the league after not playing at all in 2020 (Chase opted out of the 2020 season while at LSU). It doesn’t help that his former teammate Justin Jefferson had an insane rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Those just aren’t realistic expectations. And it’s clear that Chase is feeling the pressure.

The former LSU standout had only five drops on 118 targets in 2019 in Baton Rouge (via The Athletic). This obviously isn’t a problem that’s plagued Chase in the past. This isn’t who he is as a wide receiver. This is simply a situation where Chase had a few drops, the pressure was turned up and it’s in his head now.

There’s no doubt that Chase has to get this under control. He has to figure out a way to deal with the pressure. But at the same time, he shouldn’t be feeling this much pressure as a rookie wide receiver. There’s an adjustment process for first-year players. And Chase is still getting acclimated to professional football.

dark. Next. Joe Burrow makes preseason debut

I think Chase will be just fine with the Bengals. And I think we’ll see Chase and Burrow put up some big numbers together in Cincinnati. It’s just going to take some time. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.