CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase didn't produce like he hoped he would during training camp and in the preseason.
The 21-year-old dropped four of the five passes that were thrown his way in three preseason game. It was frustrating for him, but he's determined to get things right before Sunday's regular season opener against Minnesota.
"I left a lot of stuff out there," Chase said on Monday. "There's a lot of time for me to get better of course. I'm not afraid to get better. That's what I'm here for, to put in the work and get better, make the team better, make the organization better, so that's all part of the plan."
Chase catches 40 tennis balls from wide receivers coach Troy Walters everyday before practice. It's a drill designed to improve his hand-eye coordination and focus. This wasn't a problem for Chase at LSU. In fact, he can't remember a time where he's had issues catching the football.
"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," he said. "I don't want to make excuses. I just gotta be a pro and make the catch."
Chase finished with 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final season at LSU. He had just five drops. His record-setting campaign is a big reason why the Tigers finished 15-0 and won the National Championship.
"Lack of focus," Chase said when asked why he's had drop issues. "I didn't look the ball all the way in, lack of concentration. Just watching the ball coming into my hands, that's what I lacked and catching and it showed."
Chase has flashed his potential in practice. He made big plays and the Bengals use him all over the field.
"I expect big things from him," head coach Zac Taylor said. "I see the way that he prepares in the building, during practice."
Taylor isn't alone. Chase expects to have a big impact in Sunday's matchup against the Vikings and former LSU great Patrick Peterson.
"I could put Patrick Peterson on my highlight tape," Chase said with a smile. "He might be mad I'm saying it, but hey, you know what I'm saying, it's part of the game. I'd love to make a play on him."
Peterson, 31, is an eight-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. He signed with the Vikings in free agency this offseason.
After an up and down training camp, Chase is ready for the challenge.
"My confidence never went anywhere. I'm going into this game with a regular mindset, being focused, just playing my best game," he said. "I'm excited to do what I came here to do."
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