Chicago Bears: Chase Claypool’s time to shine with Darnell Mooney out

Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney is out for the rest of the season, the newest acquisition Chase Claypool needs to step up and show why the team spent a valuable draft asset to acquire him.

Boy, when it rains it pours. The injury bug has hit the Chicago Bears hard the last few weeks. Khalil Herbert had to go on injured reserve. That means he had to miss at least four games. He’s already missed two. Also, Teven Jenkins missed two games before returning last week. Additionally, Cody Whitehair missed over a month of play.

Last week was just a day of horrors for Chicago. They were already starting the game without quarterback Justin Fields, cornerback Kyler Gordon, and safety Jaquan Brisker, all of whom were inactive. Then they lost offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Larry Borom, defensive back Dane Cruikshank, safety Eddie Jackson, and wide receiver Darnell Mooney.

The last two injuries were very serious. Mooney tore ligaments in his ankle and now requires season-ending surgery. Jackson suffered a Lisfranc injury on his foot and could also be out for the season. He is looking at more opinions before that.

With Mooney now out for the rest of the season, it is crucial for the Bears’ newest addition, wide receiver Chase Claypool, to step up. The other receivers have not done enough this season to be depended upon.

General manager Ryan Poles spent a valuable draft asset (their own second-round pick which at this point would be the second pick in that round) to acquire Claypool.

With Claypool in Chicago, many fans felt great hope for the Chicago Bears offense. He has the talent to be a WR1, something the team sorely needed. He is the most talented wide receiver on the roster.

Things haven’t gone as planned, however. In four games with the Bears, he only has 7 catches for 83 yards. Of those yards, 51 of them came last week (31 of them on one catch).

Learning offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s offensive system appears to take some time to get down. We saw the offense struggle for four weeks before a sudden onslaught. Perhaps this is what we see in Claypool. This week will be his fifth game so let’s see how he does this week.

Claypool hasn’t been too concerned with not having big games yet. He was asked a couple of weeks ago about his lack of plays so far.

"I was prepared to be more involved, but I’m not expecting too much right now because I just got here. Me having a full understanding of the playbook will help [offensive coordinator Luke Getsy], and I’m pretty close to that, so the next couple of weeks won’t be a problem. I’m not frustrated at all."

Some may wonder why would Claypool would be important if Fields isn’t playing. Whether Fields plays or not, having Claypool comfortable in the offense is important going forward. He needs to pick up the offense so that going forward he understands the aspects of the system. We saw last week on a play that the Bears had to use a timeout because Claypool wasn’t in the right position.

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Hopefully, it doesn’t take too much longer for Claypool to get the system down. We saw how Fields struggled early on before he took off. Let’s see if that happens with Claypool as well. If he shows that he can be the guy then it’s one fewer player Poles needs to concentrate on acquiring.