Inside Chase Claypool’s upbringing in the Bears’ complex offense

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Inside Claypool’s Upbringing in Bears’ Complex Offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The 26 snaps Chase Claypool played in his Bears debut were more than expected. The 24-year-old wide receiver hit the playbook hard and learned as much from the Bears offense as he could in five days with help from quarterback Justin Fields, wide receiver Darnell Mooney and others .

The Bears only gave Claypool a handful of plays to learn on his debut. Claypool had those games down, but things move at lightning speed in the NFL, and he got caught in the wrong places at times in the 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

“Towards the end of the match, I had to go get Dante [Pettis] out,” Claypool said on Wednesday. “I knew the games I was supposed to be in, and then some of those games I wasn’t supposed to be in. So I absolutely had to ask. I did not know.”

The fact that Claypool was able to play 26 snaps and make an impact (two catches, 13 yards, one pass interference penalty taken) is a testament to his talent and football IQ.

But getting Claypool from point A to point F will take time. At times against the Dolphins, Claypool seemed confused about his pre-break lineup. He’s only been in Chicago a week and is learning new things about the Bears offense with every practice, visit and movie session.

“The longer he is with our offense, the more he practices, I think the more he can focus on the details of each course,” quarterback Justin Fields said Wednesday. “As you said last week he was kind of thrown into it so the more time he has with us we just found out on the walkthrough he just found out the one of our second cadences.

“He’s learning our offense every day and he’s going to continue to learn and elaborate on every route and concept we have.”

It will be a process for Claypool to become fully familiar with the Bears offense. Mooney has been learning the pattern since the spring, and he hasn’t started to feel fully comfortable until the last few weeks.

The Bears’ No. 1 receiver is an integral part of update Claypool. He offered to host Claypool at his house last week to go over playbook terminology and answer any questions his new teammate might have.

“I told him, like, this playbook is pretty tough,” Darnell Mooney told NBC Sports Chicago after Claypool’s arrival. “The words in it, like sometimes it doesn’t make sense, you have to put it in your own thought process. I was like, ‘whatever you need, I help you. I don’t know how they were in Pittsburgh, I don’t know how they were in Notre Dame with Cole, like I’d help you no matter what. I’d help you for sure.'”

Fields stayed late with Claypool last week to run routes and get on the same page. Bears receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and his assistant Omar Young spent a lot of one-on-one time with Claypool reviewing formations and moves.

Claypool’s biggest adjustment is how the Bears plan to use him and how that differs from his role with the Steelers.

“The most important thing is that I have a different course tree now,” Claypool said. “So like all year, I haven’t taken those roads. We just have a little extra work with that. That’s the only adjustment, I think, in terms of what’s different.”

The third-year wide receiver hopes to fully grasp the playbook in one to two weeks.

With extra throwing sessions with Fields, a little more time with the playbook and plenty of time on task, Claypool is confident he can speed up the learning process.

“You can go through the playbook for X hours or whatever. But walking through it helps a lot,” Claypool said. “I just think having this full week of practice, understanding what’s going on rather than watching it and seeing people running around and everything. Now that I’m watching, ‘what’s the game?’ I don’t need to be in there, it’s more mental rehearsals.

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It’s only been one game, but Claypool is delighted to his fresh start in Chicago. Of course, playing with Fields is part of this excitementbut Claypool loved what he saw of offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and how he diversified his offense.

Claypool’s tenure with the Steelers ended abruptly. After logging more than 800 yards in each of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, the Steelers tried to move Claypool into the slot this season and has given him fewer chances to make a splash on the pitch and in the red zone.

These are opportunities Claypool thinks he will get in Chicago.

“I think they see me as a valuable player, obviously,” Claypool said. “That’s why they traded for me. I just think they’ll give me more opportunities to make plays and stuff like that. Just a matter of time before we can get the ball rolling in terms of extra plays , knowing that I’m comfortable with it.

Raising Chase Claypool will take time. But he has already started and devotes all the hours necessary to become proficient as soon as possible.

It won’t happen overnight, but the hope is that the ball will start sooner rather than later.

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