Implementing new wide receivers into an offensive game plan is tough enough.
And when that new receiver joins the team as an in-season acquisition, arriving mid-week, and is set to play in an offense with a first-year play-caller, it only amplifies the challenges.
But Chase Claypool is up for it. As is Chicago Bears Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy, who expects Claypool to make his debut with the team on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins:
The good news is that Claypool will play for the Bears on Sunday. That the Bears are wasting no time in getting Claypool off and running is a bit of a relief. Not all teams are willing to throw their new guys out into action upon arrival. But that won’t be the case with Claypool, who will get three days’ worth of practice with his new teammates. It won’t be enough time to build a full rapport with quarterback Justin Fields and the receivers lining up aside Claypool. But even getting a small bit of practice time in isn’t inconsequential.
Unfortunately, Getsy’s confirmation that Claypool will play Sunday comes with a qualifier. Getsy says there will be limitations to the number of plays he’ll be on the field against the Dolphins. That isn’t surprising when you consider Claypool is just days into his career in Chicago. But what does it mean that Claypool will be limited to a select number of plays? Is he on a pitch count? Claypool played on 86 percent of the Steelers’ offensive snaps this season, playing on fewer than 80 percent of snaps just once this year. Or are the play limitations more about the number of routes he can run?
It would be unfair to expect Claypool to know every route in the tree after a handful of practices. But we’d at least like to see Claypool on the field where he can at least serve as a decoy. And if all else fails, Claypool’s 6-4, nearly 240-pound frame could be useful as a run blocker.
The Bears have a few days to hash out a plan of attack to deploy Claypool. And if they use that time as wisely as they did the mini-bye, then we could be in for a pleasant surprise.