The Columbus Dispatch

WR Chase learns to deal with double teams

- Kelsey Conway

Bengals rookie receiver Ja’marr Chase has not recorded a 100-yard receiving game in over a month.

In four of his last six games, he has recorded just three receptions.

After one of those games, a late November win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in which Chase had three catches for 39 yards, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin noted that rookie receivers can catch the rest of the league by surprise.

“It seems like every year there is a young talented wideout that kind of takes the league by storm in September, and that’s not downplayin­g any of the significan­ce of what Chase has done. It just happens every year,” Tomlin said.

So, what does Chase see defenses doing differently now?

“I’ve been getting a lot of cloud lately,” Chase said. “That makes my route change when I get cloud coverage. Bumping me, trying to make me slow down my route, get me out of the play ... I’m pretty sure that’s slowing me down now. I have to make the adjustment to beat double teams.”

Chase said during his time at LSU, he moved around a lot, and that helped him beat double coverage. But the Bengals have the luxury of being able to put Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd on the field at the same time as Chase.

If head coach Zac Taylor and offensive coordinato­r Brian Callahan believe Higgins or Boyd has a better chance to win a matchup, the play will be designed to go that direction. It’s not as simple as moving Chase wherever he wants to go.

Chase has stated one of his goals is to reach 1,500 yards in his first NFL season. Right now the firstround draft pick has 55 receptions on 90 targets for 958 yards and eight touchdowns. So in order to get where he wants to be, he’ll need more performanc­es like he had in the first half of the season.

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