Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles seems to be running out of patience with wide receiver Chase Claypool and his disappointing efforts.
During his weekly pregame interview with Jeff Joniak on ESPN 1000, Poles said he talked with Claypool following Week 1’s loss to Green Bay about the “standard” he expects from all of his Bears players and added that he believes the fourth-year wide receiver will make the necessary changes to become the player they need him to be.
For the first time publicly, though, Poles also entertained the possibility of what it could mean for Claypool if his effort and performance do not improve in the coming weeks.
“I would say really, for anyone on our team, there’s a standard for how we’re going to play football here and if you can’t rise to that standard and live in that space, it’s going to be hard to perform for the Chicago Bears,” Poles said Sunday morning. “With Chase, I think he’s a guy that has all the motivation in the world to be a good football player. He’s got to clean some things up. We had some good conversations. I expect to see him make those changes and if he doesn’t, then we’ll have to figure out what we’re going to do after that.”
Claypool Could Be ‘Shipped Out’ Without More Effort
There was quite a bit of talk about Claypool coming out of the Bears’ season-opening loss to the Packers. He not only earned himself a sit-down with his general manager in the following week but also his head coach and his wide receivers coach, all of whom indicated they spoke with the wide receiver about effort, performance and motivation.
Matt Eberflus even said he and his staff were “looking at all possibilities” when asked if Claypool’s low effort could potentially lead to him being ruled inactive for Week 2. (Claypool did, in fact, play against Tampa Bay and recorded three catches).
The situation behind the scenes, though, could be reaching a breaking point based on what NFL insider Jay Glazer reported during the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show:
They traded away the [32nd] pick of the draft with him and were not happy with his effort last week. You see him missing blocking assignments. It was really bad … so much so he went upstairs and apologized to the GM, Ryan Poles, apologized to the head coach, other coaches, other players as well, so he is active today. They expect to have his normal role, but they have put him on notice. ‘If you have this kind of effort again, you will be deactivated and possibly even shipped out of town again.’
Claypool Gets 1st Bears Touchdown in Buccaneers Loss
On the bright side, Claypool was more active as a wide receiver in Chicago’s second game — and loss — of the new season. He caught three passes for 36 yards against the Buccaneers and caught a 20-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give him his first score in a Bears uniform. Unfortunately, Claypool caught fewer than half of the eight passes thrown his direction and also had his fair share of mishaps in the loss.
Claypool once again seemed to miss a handful of blocking assignments, including one on Justin Fields’ first-quarter touchdown run that ultimately did not end up costing them but resembled some of the whiffs he made against the Packers in Week 1. He committed a costly offensive pass interference penalty on the Bears’ second-to-last drive that pinned them at their own 6-yard line after blocking a man downfield.
There were also a few uninspired moments for him in the receiver game. On one, Fields was nearly picked off — Buccaneers rookie Zyon McCollum didn’t maintain possession while going out of bounds — while targeting Claypool, who lacked aggression on the play for someone often touted as a big-bodied possession receiver. He also allowed cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. to wrestle away a contested ball from him on a 3rd-and-19 attempt on the Bears’ final drive, which died with the interception.
“It was a good week,” Claypool said, via NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock. “Lot of lessons learned and a lot of progress made. Going to keep that journey going.”