Finally! Chase Claypool is "On the Right Track" to Getting More Playing Time

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Finally! Chase Claypool is “On the Right Track” to Getting More Playing Time

Chicago Bears

There hasn’t been much to complain about regarding the Bears’ offense of late. Justin Fields is taking significant strides in his development and approaching stardom, a surreal feeling for Bears fans who have been starved for a franchise quarterback for most of their lives. The offense is humming right now, scoring 31 points per game over the past four contests.

I am curious to know what the deal is with Chase Claypool’s usage, though.

Claypool — acquired ahead of the trade deadline for a second-round pick — seemed primed for an increase in workload against the Lions last week, after his understandable buffer week against the Dolphins immediately following the trade. Instead, Claypool saw his snaps and targets fall during his second week in a Bears uniform.

Snaps vs. Dolphins: 26
Snaps vs. Lions: 19

The percentage of snaps was similar, but we’re still talking about a decrease from 35% in his debut to 31% in his second game with the team (and to be sure, neither mark is where you’d like him to be). What makes the lack of playing time even more annoying is that Claypool had just two targets against Detroit — one that he caught for an 8-yard gain and the other was the misfire from Fields along the sideline during the game’s final drive.

We talked about this a bit on Thursday:

However, this dip might be just a blip. #Poet

It appears as if Claypool is set to get an increase in playing time this week. At least, that’s how Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy makes it sound:

Claypool’s understanding of the playbook has reached a new level of understanding, one in which they don’t have to “tag” the play calls for him anymore — in other words, they don’t have to provide instructions specifically for him at the end of the play calls (something they apparently were doing the previous two weeks). Also, Getsy adding his belief that Claypool’s opportunities will continue to grow and that they’re on the right track are good signs.

To be clear, this could still take some time to fully iron out. But it’s all a good sign, especially since it is coming shortly after Fields told reporters the two were putting in extra work after practice.

Even still … Getsy cautions that if you’re looking to see the Bears take the top off and get Claypool doing a bunch of downfield stuff, you might be out of luck (for now).

“We run the rock and we do a good job with the play-pass game and so it’s not like we’re just spreading ’em out,” Getsy told reporters on Thursday. “We’re not the Cincinnati Bengals just spreading out 2 by 2 and spitting it out, one-on-one routes. That’s not been who were are.”

After the loss to the Lions, Fields was asked after what was behind the lack of throws Claypool’s way:

“It’s just going to take time,” Fields said via The Athletic. “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.”

Fields added more after practice this week, via ESPN’s Courtney Cronin:

“He’s coming in and having to memorize the offense, memorize the formations and not really having that base or foundation like the other guys on the offense have. You kind of have to work him in slowly. Our routes have a lot of details in them, so it’s tough for him to come in and learn every little detail of every route. Just working him in on the plays that he does have and trying to execute the best we can.”

I don’t think anyone thought that Claypool would pick up the playbook and start spitting out 100-yard games. But that’s drastically different from wondering why he lost targets and snaps from week-to-week.

Honestly, I’m not against the slow roll for Claypool. I want them to get this right and put him in a spot where he and Fields can succeed. I will say this, though. The Bears have seven games left. And they’re going to need to spend a chunk of them evaluating Claypool as a long-term fit. Claypool is a free agent after the 2023 season. And if GM Ryan Poles sees him as a long-term fit, extension talks could begin as early as this offseason. But you’ll want to know what you’ve got and what you’re getting into before going into that.

But for now, they’re taking the calculated approach, and Claypool seems to understand the process:

Everyone is saying the right things. And we’re just two weeks into Claypool’s time in Chicago, so there is no reason for concern at this point. Although, I wouldn’t be upset if Getsy and Fields dialed up some big play shots for Claypool on Sunday.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.