Ja’Marr Chase Is One of the NFL’s Hardest Receivers to Defend

Editor’s note: The 33rd Team’s Rod Woodson breaks down which wide receivers gave him the most trouble and which current receiver reminds him of his toughest adversaries.

When it comes to the hardest receiver I had to guard back in my time, there are two names that come to mind.

Webster Slaughter 

The first one is not going to be a household name, but Webster Slaughter on the Cleveland Browns was about 5’10 185 pounds, and he could change direction, stop on the dime and he could create separation from the nickel back—I played nickel. 

On top of that, he just talked up a storm all the time. I remember the first year we played against each other; we got into a fight. We got kicked out of the game, and then I got a FedEx package the following Wednesday with a fine from the National Football league. 

That was my last time getting in a fight in a game.

Andre Reed

The second guy that was really hard to guard—and not because he was quick—was Andre Reed. Though, he was just as quick as Webster Slaughter.

Andre Reed, for the Buffalo Bills in that “k-gun” offense, was a bigger guy, and I remember I could get my hands on Slaughter, and they would stay on him. But when I tried to put my hands on Reed, he would slap them down.

So, I had to come up with a different game plan to cover him than one of the smaller receivers.

Ja’Marr Chase

Slaughter and Reed were very tough to guard, and one guy that I see that is very similar to both of them—with a caveat—is Ja’Marr Chase.

He’s quick, fast and if you miss the first tackle—it’s over. It’s a touchdown. 

That’s the difference between him and the other two guys I had to cover. He has that top-end speed that can scare you, but he can also create separation. If you don’t make that tackle in space by yourself, then it’s going to be a touchdown.

So, I would say Chase is close to those two guys—he’s just a lot faster.

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