Excuse his profanity. But he's "always f***ing open."
Chase was a relative bright spot on a dismal day that saw the Bengals generate just 211 yards of total offense. His seven catches for 71 yards led the Bengals in yards from scrimmage. But the numbers don't resemble the pace that made him an All-Pro as a rookie in 2021 (1,455 yards, 13 TDs) and a Pro Bowler last season (1,046 yards, nine TDs) despite missing five games due to injury.
Chase: 'I'm always f***ing open'
After the game, Chase spoke with reporters about Cincinnati's offense, which continues to struggle as quarterback Joe Burrow plays through a calf injury.
"Probably my first time seeing him through an injury like this," Chase said. ... "He's just going through a little adversity. He's gonna be back in no time soon, keep fighting."
Chase was then asked if he has less time to get open this season. He immediately shot down the premise.
"No, I'm open," Chase continued. "I'm always f***ing open. Excuse my profanity."
A minute of Ja'Marr Chase post-game media session in Tennessee.
Q: Do you feel like you have less time to get open or create space?
A: "No. I'm open. I'm always f***ing open. Excuse my profanity." pic.twitter.com/mD2HhdVk2T
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) October 1, 2023
Chase's comment wasn't a shot at Burrow. His and Burrow's relationship goes back to their days together at LSU, where they won a national championship on a historically great offense. Their efforts in college led to both being selected by the Bengals with first-round draft picks. Both have since thrived in the NFL and on a team that has made consecutive trips to the AFC championships, winning one.
This is a winning tandem that's led to great success for both players. Chase knows how good Burrow is. And he knows how important he is to his and Cincinnati's success. With Burrow hobbled, it's easy to understand why Chase would be frustrated.
Chase endorsed resting Burrow before Week 1
In fact, a look back at Chase's preseason comments endorsing resting Burrow may speak more to the source of his frustrations.
"I just want him to be 100% healthy to play," Chase said in August. "I don't want him rushing nothing. I don't want people in his ear telling him to play a certain time. I just want him to be healthy. That's not me telling him to play this certain game. That's me saying be healthy when you're back — 100% healthy."
Those comments were in response to an interview with NFL Network where Chase suggested resting Burrow through Week 5.
"I told him that with all honesty, I don't want him there," Chase said. ... "As long as you're there after Week 5 and on, we're good, brother."
Unfortunately for the Bengals, Burrow remains hobbled, and there's no clear end in sight. They opted against resting Burrow last week as they stared down the barrel of an 0-3 start. It was a decision to allow Burrow to play through the injury rather than prioritizing rest and healing.
They picked up a win over the Los Angeles Rams, but Burrow looked nothing like his Pro Bowl self. Then came Sunday's tepid effort that saw Burrow tally 165 yards while connecting on 20 of 30 attempts (5.5 yards per attempt) and failing to find the end zone.
Until Burrow's healed, this appears to be the reality for Cincinnati's offense. And there's no evidence on the field so far that Burrow's anywhere close to 100%.
Cincinnati's bye week isn't until Week 7.