Ja’Marr Chase dropped all 3 of his targets in his second preseason game. Nobody freak out.

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The Cincinnati Bengals were supposed to have the best receivers group in the NFL, with Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and the latest addition, Ja’Marr Chase. But if a receiver’s job, as the common adage goes, is to get open and catch the ball, Chase isn’t doing a very good job — so far.

In his second preseason game on Thursday night, he dropped all three of his targets. Three. Consecutive. Drops.

Before we get into defending Chase, let’s put it all out there. Let’s acknowledge his issues, which have already led some people to freak out. Chase’s drop problems are not reserved to this preseason outing. He has had chronic issues since he joined the Bengals as the fifth overall pick. It started in voluntary organized team activities — then persisted into training camp. And, well, we just went over the drops in this preseason game.

Roll the tape.

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Bengals coach Zac Taylor stayed positive when asked about Chase.

“He’s getting better every day at a lot of the other details that maybe go unnoticed,” Taylor said after the game, via ESPN’s Ben Baby. “So we’ll just keep looking for improvement there.”

These drops come after a preseason debut last week when Chase’s only catch came on a screen play, which went for 16 yards. Chase has yet to catch a ball beyond the line of scrimmage.

“I’ve got to take it slow,” Chase said earlier this month, via Bengals.com. “I realized this offense is very detailed. I had to take my time. The first couple of days I wasn’t doing so well. Of course. I kept pushing forward. Me sitting out that year, I’m not going to be so fast getting back to my normal self. It’s all mental. It’s all mental right now.”

So that’s the truth. That’s the bottom line. Chase is a physical marvel, capable of catching every ball thrown at him. His elite ball skills are what made him the top receiver drafted in 2021. The Bengals coaching staff needs to take a lesson from Ted Lasso and figure out how to get rid of *whispers* “the yips.” It feels like we’re watching Dani Rojas at the start of season two. (Sorry if that’s an overly obscure pop culture reference.) But to sum it up: It’s all in his head.

It would be less surprising that Chase is nervous and rusty if he hadn’t opted out of 2020 due to concerns over COVID-19. But prior to preseason, he hadn’t played in a game since January 13, 2020. He didn’t even practice last year.

Take it easy, NFL fans.

To everyone in Cincinnati: Don’t give yourself stomach cramps.

Chase is having issues, but with time and good coaching, he should be OK. Stay patient.

List

Storylines to watch during week 2 of the NFL preseason