One step forward, two steps back. That could be the way Chicago Bears (3-7) trade deadline acquisition Chase Claypool chooses to approach his current plight. After arriving via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers to plenty of fanfare, Claypool was immediately thrown into the fire seeing 26 snaps just five days later.
He only managed to catch two of his six targets tying for second-most on the team with tight end Cole Kmet. But his presence was felt as he drew one key pass interference call and should have had another.
His encore in the Bears’ 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions, however, left much to be desired. The big-bodied pass catcher saw his playing time decrease to a pair of targets (one catch, eight yards) on just 19 snaps.
That was fewer plays than Byron Pringle who had been out since Week 3 with an injury.
Bears WR Chase Claypool Sounds Off on Growing Frustrations
One Week to the Next
“Absolutely,” Claypool responded when asked if he was frustrated, “Frustrated just in like the losses. I don’t really care about my production if we’re winning…I’m not letting that get to me.”
The Bears sent their second-round pick – already the more valuable of the two they owned – to the Steelers for Claypool. But, on Sunday, he was on the field more than only N’Keal Harry whom the Bears sent a sixth-round pick to the New England Patriots to acquire among their regular group of receivers.
Harry joined rookie Velus Jones Jr. as a healthy scratch.
Given his newness to the offense in general, and in addition to the guys that played ahead of him, perhaps it is not as surprising as it may have seemed at first glance.
“That’s just how the game goes sometimes,” Claypool said. “Take it week-by-week.”
A couple notes…
Claypool is at 33.3% in his two games with the Bears.
The RB split Weeks 5-10 (since Montgomery returned from injury):
Montgomery 279/407 (68.6%)
Herbert 125/407 (30.7%) https://t.co/wOblD482bK
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 15, 2022
Head coach Matt Eberflus offered up his reasoning for Claypool’s sparse deployment in his postgame media availability.
“I don’t know, I’d have to go back and look at it,” Eberslus said matter-of-factly. “Our plan was to get him in there. Sometimes coverages take certain things away, and if he was the primary, maybe we went to the secondary…but our plan was to get him the ball.”
That would explain the lack of involvement in the offense but not necessarily the lack of playing time. Again, though, Claypool isn’t rushing it saying that he was “prepared” to play more but is “not expecting too much right now” since he is still new. And, for what it is worth, the incumbent players took several games to get acclimated.
That includes quarterback Justin Fields and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. The latter had to fine-tune the offense to his young quarterback’s strengths.
And the former believes that is the case with Claypool.
“It’s just going to take time,” Fields said after the game. “I don’t think anybody expected him to just come and just start having 100-yard games. It just doesn’t work like that. Just getting on the same page, me knowing him, him knowing me, and just working together.”
Claypool, again to his credit, said much the same thing about his budding connection with his new teammate.
“That definitely takes time. We have the ability to do that down the road. But there’s no point of rushing it and trying to force things. So just wait until that happens.”
Claypool, Bears Hit the Road
The Bears will be on the road for the next two weeks. First, they travel to Atlanta to take on old pal Ryan Pace and the Atlanta Falcons before heading East to take on the talented New York Jets and Fields’ draftmate, Zach Wilson.
They return home to host the Green Bay Packers who may or may not have found their formula in an upset win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10.
After all of that, the Bears will hit the bye week.
Things don’t get much easier as they’ll take on the Philadelphia Eagles upon their return before matchups against the Buffalo Bills, at the Lions, and finally against the Minnesota Vikings to close out the 2022 season. While they will be at home for three of the four contests, each of those games comes against a team either first or second in their respective conference.
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