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All career-highs in the middle of the playoff crucible last Saturday in Pittsburgh for Bengals rookie wide receiver Andrei Iosivas with Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase injured. From snaps (46) to catches (four) to yards (36). Bengals.com senior writer Geoff Hobson talked to the Ivy League’s next emerging NFL player in his latest conversation:

GH: Here we are heading into week 17 in Kansas City and the day before Christmas Eve you play a career-high 46 snaps in your 15th game. This year may be the most football you ever played in two in college, never mind one.

AI: By week seven of the regular season, I had played ten games. Plus, the first three preseason games. An Ivy League season is ten games. This is a lot more than I’ve played in a long time.

GH: Plus, with track you never really had an offseason in college, did you?

AI: Track workouts are a little bit different than the rigor of football. I never really took a break. So it’s not like I’m not used to constantly working.

GH: No question you’re used to a grind. I’m just talking about pure football. Just learning the game aspect.

AI: Even as a rookie, I did feel really comfortable once I was out there. You get a little bit of anxiety going out there and starting your first big game, but when I was out there, I felt comfortable. I thought I did really well. Obviously, I have stuff to work on, but I felt comfortable.

GH: I’m not saying that you dabbled in football because you obviously did more than that. But to be able to commit to it fully, you’ve never really been able to do that until now.

AI: Yeah and, man, if you gave me all the knowledge and experience I have now, if you let me go back to college for one more game, I think I would go crazy.

GH: You have to feel like you’ve just touched the surface and you’re going to get better and better.

AI: I feel like I’m a pure football player on the path to becoming a good one.

GH: What are some of the things you’ve learned?

AI: How to read defenses at a faster rate. Just understanding languages of defenders and knowing what ball is going to come. When a defender is here, or in a certain type of coverage where even a ball could be differently placed on the same route.

GH: Do you have an example?

AI: In Cover Two or something you have an out route. A lot of times in college a QB wouldn’t throw that. Here the QBs are skilled enough to throttle you into a certain hole. Or you have to kind of understand to just throttle your route and not just run out into the flat defender.

GH: Then sometimes it’s just instinct on a third down catch against Minnesota.

AI: Yeah, that was just a checkdown. I just saw the dude and just ran through his face.

GH: How about that leaping catch you almost made in Pittsburgh Saturday on the sidelines?

AI: I thought I did make it. I thought the tie goes to the runner. It was what it was. I kind of twirled. I saw that I had one foot down and I needed to get my other foot down immediately and I just put my hand down, I guess, they thought too early. It was what it was.

GH: So what do you learn? Don’t put your hand down?

AI: That was just a natural reaction. Now I’ll know I’ll be more conscious of my natural reaction for my hand.

GH: That’s the thing. You seem like one of these guys who learns every time you’re out there. Kind of doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

AI: Hopefully if I’m falling down that hard again, I’ll do it with my shoulders.



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