Reports from Cincinnati suggest the Bengals offense has struggled to mesh through the first two weeks of training camp.
For the most part, all we've heard is about Joe Burrow's issues returning from a torn ACL and how the offense has gotten beat by the defense repeatedly. This week, the negative turned to first-round pick Ja'Marr Chase, who has reportedly not shown the type of separation on routes expected.
With that backdrop -- and admitting he hasn't been perfect -- Chase preached patience after a good Tuesday practice.
"I've got to take it slow," Chase said, via Geoff Hobson of the team's official website. "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."
Chase has leaned on former LSU teammates Burrow and tight end Thaddeus Moss to help keep him in the right mindset. The youngster who opted out of the 2020 college season knows he's got time before the real heat ratchets up.
"I talked to them about how I feel right now," Chase said. "It was plays I knew I could make. I had some drops on them. Thad just told me to relax. 'Rome wasn't built in a day.' That's exactly what he told me. 'Keep a level head.' (Burrow) was saying how we both were out for a year and we have to come back completely different, stronger, faster. The main thing is about being on the same time and getting our stuff together."
To think Burrow, who shredded his knee after getting walloped, and Chase, who hadn't played a football game in more than a year, would just show up and dominate was folly in the first place. The Athletics' Paul Dehner -- the man who lit social media on fire when he noted earlier this week that Chase hadn't flashed yet -- even cautioned that it's too early in the process to make any broad, firm declarations. That caveat was quickly brushed over.
This situation is quintessential training camp fodder. Reporters note what they've seen in practices -- which are a far cry from game situations. Those observations then spiral into a narrative that either confirms or contradicts a prior belief. It then becomes a talking point.
The truth of the matter is that there are still plenty of practices and preseason games for Chase, Burrow and the rest of the offense to get their chemistry on track before any true hair-pulling in Cincy needs to take place.
Maybe Chase hasn't lit the Bengals defense up after more than a year away from football. Young players develop at different rates, and certain positions offer different learning curves. Let's at least give Cincy's offense a few more weeks before they're written off as no good and those Penei Sewell-Chase arguments are reignited.