Getsy: Claypool ‘in pretty good shape' learning offense


Chase Claypool may not be as familiar in the offense as the other Bears wide receivers, but on Thursday, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Claypool is actually “in pretty good shape now,” in terms of knowing his assignments on any given play. As for some of the smaller details, Getsy argued that it’s understandable that Claypool may still be lagging a bit behind the others, since he’s only been with the team for six weeks, while everyone else has been working in the offense since summer.

“He can handle most of the offense,” Getsy said. “Now, how fast that absorbs when he hears the play call, I’m sure that’s not up to the level. You’ve seen a couple of times where, ‘Ope, I’ve gotta be over there instead of over there.’ But then once he gets there he’s in good shape.”

The Bears traded their second-round pick in next year’s draft for Claypool in November with the hopes that he could develop into a top flight receiver for Justin Fields and the offense. The team deliberately designed specific packages for Claypool to learn quickly, so he could get on the field ASAP, but he still hasn’t made the type of impact that one would hope for given the price the Bears paid to bring him to Chicago. Over his five games with the Bears, Claypool is only averaging 2.4 catches per game on 4.4 targets for 22.2 yards. He’s yet to score a touchdown.

“I wouldn’t say he’s there yet,” Eberflus said on Monday about Claypool understanding the offense 100%. “I would say he’s getting there. He’s getting there and working there just like everybody else. But again, it’s all new to him and there’s a lot of volume of offense that he has to learn and he’s getting there.

“He needs alignment, assignment and get all the things down, the route depths and the routes, the discipline of running the routes. He’s in a good spot. He’s in a good spot. We’re looking forward for him to get better every single week.”

It is a little troubling that Claypool still has moments where he doesn’t know where to line up, considering he’s only ranged between 19-38 snaps per game with the Bears. Hearing a play call, absorbing it and recalling every detail, while taking in information from the defense is a lot, especially when the play clock is ticking. But the six weeks that Claypool has been in Chicago is longer than the three-and-a-half weeks dedicated to training camp. Knowing where to line up all the time seems like a reasonable baseline for a player who’s been here for a month and a half. After all, players who arrive near the beginning of the summer program are expected to know where to line up by Week 1.

That doesn’t mean Claypool won’t be able to get there by the end of the year, or that his production won’t jump in the final month of the season. We’ve already seen the Bears target Claypool on several deep shots, and use him in new capacities like on screen passes or running plays. We’ve already seen the positive impact Claypool can make in the offense, whether it’s by hauling in spectacular catches or drawing big defensive pass interference penalties. As he gets more and more comfortable, both with Getsy’s offense and with Fields, it’s reasonable to believe that impact will increase.

The Bears still have Claypool under contract for one more season, and invested a lot in him with that second round pick. One would imagine that everyone in the organization would make it a priority to jump start Claypool over the last month of the season, so that he can hit the ground running in 2023 and so the team can better evaluate what he can do long-term. His knee injury may delay that a bit, but Claypool can still learn a lot just by keeping his nose in his playbook and staying engaged in the classroom.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us