Chase Claypool says Chicago Bears are not putting him in best position

Claypool on his coaches: ‘I’ll let them decide’ how to properly use him

Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool works on the field during training camp in Lake Forest, Ill., Thursday, July 27, 2023.

LAKE FOREST – Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool doesn’t believe the team is using him properly.

Speaking Friday at Halas Hall, Claypool was asked: Do you feel like you’ve been put in the best position for you as a receiver to showcase the best of what you can do?

Claypool took a long pause, then said, “No.”

Asked specifically how the Bears coaching staff could better use him within the offense, the 25-year-old receiver declined to provide any details.

“You know, I’ll let them decide that,” Claypool said. “I’m not going to give any pointers. That’s their job to decide, and I’ll just do what they tell me to do.”

Through three games, Claypool has four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. He faced intense criticism after Week 1, when he looked like he was uninterested in blocking against the Green Bay Packers. It was bad enough that Claypool and head coach Matt Eberflus had a meeting about Claypool’s effort the following week.

The effort as a blocker has improved some over the past two weeks, but the opportunities in the pass game haven’t been there. Claypool caught three passes, including a touchdown, during Week 2 against Tampa Bay, then had only one catch last week at Kansas City.

On Friday, Claypool said there’s been “frustration” over the first three weeks of the season. The Bears traded a second-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for Claypool at the trade deadline last year. Since then, there has been nothing but frustrations.

Claypool did not play well after the trade, but he also was trying to learn a new offense on the fly. He caught 14 passes for 140 yards in seven games with the Bears last season. He was supposed to be the type of receiver who would help quarterback Justin Fields elevate the passing attack.

“Sometimes the things around you either elevate or you have to adapt to allow you to elevate with them,” Claypool said. “So I’ve just been adapting to the new system and a new role in the system and trying to make the most out of it.”

Sometimes the things around you either elevate or you have to adapt to allow you to elevate with them. So I’ve just been adapting to the new system and a new role in the system and trying to make the most out of it.”

—  Chase Claypool, Bears wide receiver

Claypool’s comments come about a week after Fields criticized his own play, and the offensive scheme. Fields later took back any criticism of the coaches and pinned the blame on himself.

Bears receivers coach Tyke Tolbert has coached receivers in the NFL for 20 years. Tolbert recently told members of the media that Claypool is like any other player, you have to find the right buttons to push.

“With him, I want to make sure it’s clearly defined on what we want,” Tolbert said. “If it’s not, we have to do it over again, and that’s what I’m here for. I tell players all the time, ‘You’re not perfect, because if you were perfect, they wouldn’t need coaches.’ That’s what we’re here to do.”

Claypool is in the final year of his rookie contract. He previously called this season “the biggest year of my life.” There is potentially a lot of money to make as a free agent in March.

Asked more specifically about his current situation in Chicago, Claypool said he thinks the team is just working through some things.

“I wouldn’t say it’s not an ideal place for me,” Claypool said. “Obviously, there’s other places – you can say, ‘Oh, I want to be on the best offense with the highest passing yards,’ but that doesn’t happen in football. You just have to make due with what you got.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.