On Thursday, we highlighted the most significant comment made by Bengals rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase during a recent press conference regarding his issues with drops. At one point, Chase said the NFL ball is different “because it is bigger,” and that the lack of stripes makes the NFL version “hard to see because the whole ball is brown,” with no stripes on either end.
Chase took issue with our article, which came directly from an article on Bengals.com, saying this on Twitter: “haha i never said it was hard to catch. they asked me what the difference was in the ball. don’t change my words!!!”
The comments were made in the broader context of the difficulties he’s had with making catches. And he said plenty more about the obvious struggles he has experienced.
Earlier in the press conference, Chase was asked why he thinks he has had trouble with drops.
“Lack of focus,” Chase said. “I didn’t look the ball all the way in. Lack of concentration. Just watching the ball come into my hands was just a lack — of that’s what I lack in catching and it showed.”
He also was asked why he thinks he has a lack of focus.
“I don’t want to blame it on me sitting on my butt the whole year but I mean it probably has to do something with it, of course,” Chase said. “It’s a bigger ball adjustment. So I don’t want to make any excuses, but I just got to be a pro and make the catch.”
It’s a bigger ball adjustment. That’s what he said when explaining why he’s having trouble catching it. Thus, he’s saying it’s harder to catch it.
He explained what he’s doing to improve his focus.
“Right now, I’ve been doing a lot of tennis balls,” Chase said. “That’s the eye concentration I’ve been trying to do making sure I look the ball all the way in. Just constantly catching passes, JUGS machine from the quarterback. Just constantly doing the same thing you’re always doing. Constant routine. Working on it. Over time it will get, you know, as something you’ve already been doing. It should just already come back and be in place.”
That’s a good approach. Here’s another one — don’t pay attention to social media or the Internet. At a time when the issue of drops has gotten in his head (and it’s incumbent on the Bengals to devote the resources to help him through it), he can’t let tweets and articles and other comments get in his head, either. He needs to ignore the noise and focus on the process, and the Bengals need to help him.