Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase had an outstanding first season in 2021, catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns en route to winning AP offensive rookie of the year.
He was also a second-team All-Pro and selected to his first Pro Bowl.
But given that it was just Chase’s first season, the Bengals feel there’s plenty more out there for him. As one example, Chase appears likely to move around formations more as he begins his second season.
Cincinnati receivers coach Troy Walters noted that there’s a possibility Chase could even line up in the backfield, a la San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel.
“He’s going to be all over the field,” Walters said, via Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ website. “We’re going to use him as many ways as we can. He’s a quick learner … That’s what great players want to do. They want to play everywhere.
“They understand the value of moving around and how you stress defenses sometimes in the slot. You don’t want defenses to focus on you. He’s embraced that challenge. Just find a way to create mismatches.”
Chase said he feels like lining up in the slot can give him more space to get open because he can get a mismatch with a linebacker or safety instead of a corner on the outside.
“It’s going to make our offense more explosive,” Chase said. “If we sit in there like robots and stay in the same position, they’re going to expect what’s coming. That’s why you move around.”
Chase’s emergence helped the Bengals improve to 13th in total yards and seventh in points scored last season. If he can take a significant jump by moving around more in his second season, that could go a long way to help Cincinnati defend its AFC North title.