The Chicago Bears traded their 2023 second-round pick for WR Chase Claypool at the NFL trade deadline in a move that was lauded by most analysts as a step in the right direction for QB Justin Fields and the offense.
But through two games in Chicago, Claypool’s made little-to-no impact as a downfield playmaker. He has just three catches for 21 yards. His snaps went from 26 in his debut in Week 9 to 19 last week against the Detroit Lions.
Claypool offered a logical explanation for his slow start as a Bear. He said his opportunities have been limited because of how dominant Chicago’s running game has been.
“I think with our offense it’s not like a big rush to try and get me on the field,” Claypool said Wednesday. “Our run game is so good and we have so many different personnels that they don’t have to try to throw me into the fire for the offense to be productive. The offense is going to be productive because the run game is so good.”
Claypool’s right. The Bears’ running game has been that good. In fact, at this rate, Chicago has a chance to break the NFL’s single-season team rushing record. The record was set in 2019 by the Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens, who ran for 3,296 yards. Chicago is on pace for 3,332.
The Bears don’t need to rush Chase Claypool into the lineup before he’s ready. It’s important that he plays with confidence. He’ll only get that confidence by learning the playbook. Having more time and reps with Justin Fields helps, too.
Claypool’s time as a playmaker in the Chicago Bears’ offense will come. It just may take a little longer than Bears fans hoped for.