The Chase Claypool Experience Hasn't Worked, but that Doesn't Mean it Won't

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The Chase Claypool Experience Hasn’t Worked, but that Doesn’t Mean it Won’t

Chicago Bears

After another failed third down conversion attempt during the second half on Sunday, Chase Claypool’s frustration got the best of him. Claypool went to the sideline shouting and tossed his helmet to the ground before exchanging words with wide receiver’s coach Tyke Tolbert.

Quarterback Justin Fields saw the exchange and came to calm his wide receiver down. The incident went no further than that, but Claypool’s struggles since arriving in Chicago extend well beyond a frustrating loss to the Lions this week, making Claypool’s frustration understandable.

“Yeah, he was frustrated,” Fields said after the loss to the Lions. “He’s a passionate player. He’s passionate about the game. … He was just showing his emotion. It’s great to have emotion in the game, but you have to know how to control it. You can’t let it come out like that because, at the end of the day, that’s not helping anybody. That’s not helping the team.”

Justin Fields spoke like a mature leader when asked about the Claypool incident after the game and said that letting emotions win in situations like this would not help anyone on the Chicago sideline. Sound advice for us to remember as we flesh out our feelings on the Claypool acquisition, one that admittedly doesn’t look great right now.

When Ryan Poles sent the Bears second round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for Claypool, 12 catches for 111 yards and no touchdowns was hardly what Poles — or anyone for that matter — were expecting in return for what will amount to essentially a late first round pick for the Steelers this spring.

While Claypool didn’t stick around to speak with reporters after Sunday’s game, I’m sure you can safely add Claypool to that list of people who didn’t see this bad of a start to his time in Chicago coming.

Take Claypool’s disappointing start, his often puzzling lack of involvement in the offense, a knee injury that sidelined him for three weeks — that he suffered toward the end of his best performance in a Bears uniform, no less — and the fact that he didn’t get his first target until there were two minutes left in Sunday’s blowout, and you can see why Claypool isn’t happy.

You can also see what Claypool has had such a horrid start to his time with the Bears.

There’s plenty of frustration regarding the price that Ryan Poles paid for Claypool, and it becomes more intense every week, but what’s done is done. Claypool is here, that draft pick is not, and the Bears have at least one more season to figure out how to maximize Chase Claypool’s talent, the talent everyone praised back in early November when the deal was made.

The Chase Claypool experience hasn’t been great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be. Claypool admitted after the first meeting with Detroit that the Bears offense and route tree were significantly more complex than what he had been running in Pittsburgh after he played just 19 snaps against the Lions in Week 10.

Claypool’s snap count went up to 29 the following week against the Falcons and 38 the next week against the Jets. Claypool also had a pair of catches on three and five targets in each of those games, respectively. Then in Week 13 against the Packers — Claypool’s fifth game with the Bears — he played in 33 snaps and caught five passes on six targets before he suffered a knee injury that cost him the next three games.

The point is that Claypool was becoming more adjusted to the Bears playbook after the puzzling lack of involvement in the Lions game in Week 10. He was getting more targets and making more catches every week before the injury.

Matt Eberflus admitted that Claypool was on a pitch count on Sunday in his return, which explains the 19 snaps and one target he got in his second go-around with the Lions in a Bears uniform.

This isn’t ‘Space Jam,’ and the Monstars didn’t come down from Moron Mountain and steal Chase Claypool’s talent, the undeniable talent that we all saw on film. He’s just had a bad string of luck in two months since arriving here.

While I understand the frustration over the draft pick, I wouldn’t put too much stock into the early returns on Claypool in Chicago. He’s going to have a full offseason and training camp before the Bears play their next meaningful game, and that should be where any meaningful evaluations of Claypool begin.


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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.