There has been speculation about whether the Chicago Bears will bench Chase Claypool for Week 2. However, Bears wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert put this rumor to bed earlier in the week. Tolbert confirmed his belief that Claypool will indeed be on the active roster when they face the Buccaneers on Sunday.
“He’s been practicing and taking all the normal reps”
Expectations for Claypool
The Bears shouldn’t bench Claypool just yet, as he still has a lot of talent. However, it’s crucial for Claypool to make a comeback this week against Tampa Bay. In Week 1, the Bears used Chase mainly as an outside receiver (50 times) and occasionally in the slot (8 times), and I expect this pattern to continue. One area where the Bears might make changes is in screen plays. Claypool had a poor performance in run-blocking, with a low PFF grade of 31.0 on 19 run-blocking snaps, the lowest on the team. I anticipate that Equanimeous St. Brown, who is a stronger run blocker with a PFF grade of 69.8 in 2022, will be active this week. St. Brown also excels in pass blocking with a very high grade of 80.5.
Even though Chase is more talented as a wide receiver, if he can’t contribute effectively in basic screen plays and more, it might be time for the Bears to bring in ESB. My expectations for Claypool this week aren’t too high, given his performance last week when he had just two targets and no receptions. While the entire offense struggled, Claypool stood out as one of the weakest links.
If he doesn’t bounce back, the calls to bench him will only get louder. However, I believe Claypool will silence some of his critics to some extent. Justin Fields mentioned earlier this week that he plans to give players like DJ Moore and Chase Claypool more opportunities against the Bucs. With that in mind, I predict Claypool will finish Sunday’s game with 6 targets, 4 catches, and 48 yards. While these numbers may not be game-changing, they represent a significant improvement from Week 1. If he can produce at this level and contribute more effectively when he’s not receiving the ball, it will greatly benefit the team. Ultimately, it’s up to Claypool to make the most of this opportunity. It very well may be his last.
Bears vs Bucs Preview
If you’re interested in a detailed analysis and preview of the Bears vs. Bucs game, don’t miss the latest episode of the BFR Podcast, the official Sports Mockery Bears podcast. We had Joshua Queipo, a Bucs writer for Pewter Report, as our guest, and we had an awesome discussion about both teams expectations, the Justin Fields vs. Baker Mayfield matchup, and more.