Mike Tomlin’s Stern Message to Chase Claypool Following ‘Misstep’

Chase Claypool Steelers

Getty Steelers receiver Chase Claypool committed a huge "misstep" during the Week 14 loss.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking things with Chase Claypool in a constructive manner.

The 23-year-old receiver made a costly decision in the Steelers’ Week 14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Claypool’s fourth-down celebration towards the end of the game cost the team several seconds. Instead of rushing back for the next snap, Claypool pointed his left arm in the direction of the end zone, signaling a first down.

A total of 17 snaps elapsed between the fourth-down conversion and Ben Roethlisberger’s snap to spike the football. On Tuesday, December 14, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed Claypool’s “misstep.”

“Obviously, he had a misstep in that area,” Tomlin said at his weekly press conference. “He had missteps in other areas. He’s a young guy that’s growing and developing in a lot of ways. It can’t happen fast enough for him, and it can’t happen fast enough for us.

“We’re going to continue to push that growth and development as long as he’s a willing participant. He has been, and so we’re just gonna keep moving forward.”

The action by Claypool may have cost the Steelers an extra play as the final sequence saw an incompletion to tight end Pat Friermuth in the end zone as time expired.

“These guys don’t come to you as finished products,” Tomlin continued. “That’s another component of coaching that I embrace, and we collectively embrace. It’s the reason why we make what we make and there are so many of us, because these guys are less than finished products in most instances when we get them. There’s a growth and development that has to take place.

“You guys are witnessing growth and development in Diontae Johnson, not only in quality of play and skills relative to his position, but in maturity. He’s a year older than Chase. That’s going on all around us. We’re seeing the pains of growth and development sometimes when young people have to participate.”

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Claypool’s ‘Misstep’ May Have Cost Steelers Their Season

Claypool’s misstep may have cost the Steelers the game — and their season. At 6-6-1, Pittsburgh faces an uphill battle to make it to the postseason. The Steelers are currently tied with the Carolina Panthers for the NFL’s toughest remaining schedule.

While Pittsburgh only remains 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Ravens for the division lead — they hold the tiebreaker — and 0.5 games behind multiple teams for the AFC wild card spots, the Steelers face a rough road to the postseason.

Their remaining games are as follows: at home against the Tennessee Titans, play in Kansas City versus the Chiefs, play at home against the Cleveland Browns and play in Baltimore against the Ravens.

If the Steelers do end up missing the postseason, they’ll pinpoint Claypool’s “misstep” as a major reason for why.

The Steelers are currently dealing with a litany of injuries, with offensive line clearly feeling the hurt.

Steelers’ Issues With Protecting the QB

Pittsburgh had their fourth player in a five-week span start at left guard when John Leglue started versus the Vikings.

The lack of consistency along the offensive line has led to increased pressure on Roethlisberger. The veteran quarterback was sacked five times — his highest amount since 2014 — in the loss. The amount of pressure clearly affected the Steelers’ play as they failed to score any points until late in the third quarter.

“We can stay on schedule better,” Tomlin said on Tuesday. “I think that is the catalyst for it. It’s always been a catalyst for us in minimizing his exposure. When we’re doing a better job of staying on schedule, those hits are less, and we acknowledge last Thursday is not what we are looking for in that regard.”

The Steelers are going to have to protect their quarterback — and fix many other things — if they’re going to go on a run for the postseason.

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