Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had some interesting comments earlier this week that helped explain his preseason struggles.
Chase’s drops have been a concern in Cincinnati, especially because many believed that they should have drafted an offensive lineman in place of Chase with the fifth pick in this year’s draft.
Chase told Bengals.com that the differences in the NFL ball from the collegiate ball have made it harder for the former LSU standout to adjust when catching passes.
“The ball is different because it is bigger,” Chase said. “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.”
The comments are so interesting because Chase literally had a whole season to get adjusted to the NFL ball when he opted out of the 2020 college football season at LSU. Everyone knows the differences between the NFL ball and the college ball. The professional ball is slightly bigger and, like Chase said, it doesn’t have those stripes — but if you’ve had a whole year to train and get ready for the pros, I’d like to think you’ve been working with an NFL ball.
“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.”
At the end of the day, Chase just has to get his hands and eyes up and catch the dang football. While the preseason was rough for the top-five pick, it was still only the preseason. If Chase can put together a strong rookie season, everyone in Cincy will forget about his early struggles ever happened.