With Burrow And Ja'Marr Playing Catch Again, The Chase Is On For Bengals

No. 1 back at it.
No. 1 back at it.

All is right with Bengaldom.

Joe Burrow is still cool, Ja'Marr Chase is still running hot and the AFC champions are back on the field for voluntary spring ball.

Burrow, coming off the best season a Bengals quarterback ever had when he became the youngest to lead them to a Super Bowl at the ripe old age of 25, breezed through his first press conference since the magic ran out that SoFi Sunday.

"We're going to completely overhaul the offense," said Burrow, breaking into a smile when asked about potential makeovers. "We're going to maybe run the Wing-T a little bit. Maybe our division can start watching Georgia Tech or something."

Asked how long he took off after the Super Bowl, Burrow offered just a week: "I'm not the type that sits around and gets fat."

Chase, coming off the greatest season a rookie wide receiver ever had in the NFL, held court in front of his locker and talked how he was going to start his encore season catching 10,000 footballs this offseason.

No, the tennis balls don't count: "That's just for looking the ball in faster."

"This year, what I've been working on the most is just staying low on my releases," Chase said. "And trying to overemphasize the head fakes with the shoulders and eyes and stuff like that so they don't jump all over my body."

Burrow has plans, too.

"Just tweaks here and there," said the now serious Burrow. "At this point, I'm not going to have a big overhaul of what I am doing. I'm just looking to refine my entire game as a whole."

Burrow watched the Super Bowl once, the day after, and that's all he needed:

"Saw where I could get better. Saw the things we did well. Then I moved on."

Chase hasn't watched it yet. He says he will.

"Not right now, though I'm a little pissed there," Chase said. "We lost. I didn't go home with what I wanted."

On the last play of the game, Chase, as he did earlier in the night, swept past the great Jalen Ramsey on the Rams corner. Chase ran the go route that Burrow checked to when he waved to Chase just before the snap on fourth-and-one from the Rams 49 with 39 seconds left.

"I did my normal routine," Chase said. "Try to stack the DB (so the cornerback trailed him) and hand play. Try to stack him as late as possible … I took what he gave me and ran with it."

Because of the Rams pressure, Burrow couldn't take advantage of the separation.

"I checked to that go route. I was anticipating throwing it and just didn't quite have the time," Burrow said. "Like I said, we've put that behind us. We lost. We had a great year. We're going forward."

In a rare display of anger, Chase fired his helmet to the turf as the confetti swirled.

"It was tough. It was tough. I was in my second championship (game) and I really wanted it bad," Chase said. "Anger shows when you love the game that much. The emotions."

Tuesday in hats and shorts wasn't all that different than last 39 seconds of the Super Bowl for Chase. He was loving it so much when he made a mistake he went to find Burrow.

"I messed up today because I was just excited to be out there," Chase said. "Just running back to Joe, I was like, 'Man, my bad.' I got too excited on the play. It feels good to be back out here and hanging with the guys again. You have to love football and I really love football."

It's amazing what these two guys nearly pulled off together in their last two seasons together. They came within 39 seconds of winning a Super Bowl after winning the NCAA title. They're using it as fuel instead of a curse.

"We have the experience now. Going into last year, we knew we were good, but I think going into the playoffs," Burrow said of his Bengals, "we knew we could win but we weren't really sure what it took. We just went out there and played really hard and together as a team and it worked out. Now, we know what it takes and we have that experience in our back pockets going forward."

Chase calls his almost supernatural symbiosis with Burrow, "Silent Ninja."

"We can talk in silence. That's pretty cool."

But he knows they've made enough noise that the foes know where to find them.

"Now we just have to add to the expectation we're one of the best in the league and we have to keep that expectation and roll with it," Chase said. "Every game's a tough game the NFL. We're not worried about our X. Everybody has an X on their back.

"I feel confident about how far we went last year, if we're being real honest. That's all the confidence we need right there."

So, the duo is getting ready in their own way.

Someone asked Burrow about last March's recruiting visit at his home for right tackle La'el Collins. It consisted of crackers and cupcakes and it worked.

Get used to it.

"That's something I want to do every year," Burrow said. "I want to make sure the guys we are looking to bring in feel at home in Cincinnati and with the team because that is the culture we are building in the locker room. We are really, really close as a team, coaching staff, players, strength staff, trainers. I just want to portray that to the guys that are thinking about coming here and that we want to sign."

Burrow, a Cavs fan, adopted the Suns for the NBA playoffs. But apparently the media has noticed his style meshes some with the Mavericks' Luka Dončić. He agreed.

"Whenever they played (Sunday), someone was talking a little stuff to him on courtside," Burrow said. "He was laughing in his face every time he hit a three. I thought that was pretty cool."

Chase is looking to stay hot.

"Go out there and be myself again," Chase said. "Everybody expected to see a show. But I was just playing my game. Being comfortable."

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