Mike Tomlin: Chase Claypool needs ‘growth and development’

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin addressed Chase Claypool’s first down celebration in today’s press conference.

It was critically important that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool make that second-year jump that head coach Mike Tomlin often talks about. Not only for himself but the team — especially after JuJu Smith-Schuster was lost for the season. He had an opportunity to really shine and show the Steelers he was worth the steep second-round draft investment.

Instead, Claypool’s sophomore season has been a destructive one, and he’s regressed from the player he was as a rookie.

Claypool has committed nine accepted penalties, including two costly 15-yarders — a facemask (Bengals) and unnecessary roughness (Vikings) that show a lack of discipline and maturity.

And then there’s the much-talked-about request for music at practice and, most recently, his need to celebrate a first down taking precious time off the clock. The whole fiasco cost the Steelers 17 seconds, plenty of time to take another shot or two at the end zone, and attempt a two-point conversion to take the game into overtime.

Claypool’s comments after the game — pointing the finger at guard Trai Turner — dug the hole even deeper. It’s not a good look for Claypool, and it reflects poorly on the organization.

During his press conference on Tuesday, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor questioned Tomlin about how the coaches addressed Claypool’s actions to avoid it from happening again. As usual, he offered up a softball answer.

“We don’t wait for stuff like that to happen to address it; that’s built in our two-minute teachings and team development,” said Tomlin. “Obviously, he had a misstep in that area; he had missteps in other areas. He’s a young guy that’s growing and developing in a lot of ways — that can’t happen fast enough for him, and it can’t happen fast enough for us… there’s growth and development that has to take place.”

Claypool seems to think he’s bigger than the game, bigger than the Steelers. And that’s not something that can be coached out of a player — that has to come from within.

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Chase Claypool’s injury not considered season-ending

The Steelers breathed a collective sigh of relief when Chase Claypool’s MRI results revealed his toe injury is not season-ending, as initially was feared.

The Pittsburgh Steelers breathed a collective sigh of relief when Chase Claypool’s MRI results revealed his toe injury is not season-ending, as initially was feared.

Per a source of NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Claypool is considered week-to-week.

Though it’s not official Claypool will miss the Steelers Week 10 contest, it’s safe to say he won’t be in the lineup. He also missed Pittsburgh’s Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury.

It’ll be James Washington’s time to shine behind Diontae Johnson versus the Detroit Lions. Claypool’s injury likely means more looks for rookie phenom Pat Freiermuth, as well.

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Injured Steelers WR Chase Claypool scheduled for MRI

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said in today’s press conference that Claypool will undergo MRI today.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool sustained a toe injury in last night’s victory over the Chicago Bears.

Claypool was spotted limping off the field in the fourth quarter but he quickly and surprisingly returned to action.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in his press conference today that the wide receiver will have an MRI to evaluate a toe injury.

Claypool finished the game with three catches for 30 yards and 13 rushing yards on two carries.

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Steelers’ Chase Claypool to compete in Call of Duty single elimination tournament

Misfits Gaming Group’s Florida Mutineers will host a live Call of Duty showdown featuring some of the best professional athletes in sports.

Misfits Gaming Group’s Florida Mutineers will host the second annual “In The Know Bowl 2021” with Verizon Media’s mobile-first content brand In The Know. The live Call of Duty showdown is set to feature Call of Duty League franchise team Florida Mutineers players alongside some of the best professional athletes in sports, including Pittsburgh Steelers’ own Chase Claypool.

Other pro athlete participants are Cleveland Browns’ Jarvis Landry, Los Angeles Rams’ Sebastian Joseph-Day, Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson, Las Vegas Raiders’ Henry Ruggs III, three-time All-Star Mark Ingram, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and professional basketball champion Stephen Jackson. The event will take place online tomorrow, Friday, February 5, and be livestreamed on InTheKnow.com from 5 to 8 p.m. eastern.

Chase will be paired with Colt “Havok” McLendon of the Florida Mutineers. “We’re all excited to kick off the Super Bowl weekend with athletes who love Call of Duty,” said McLendon. “We had so much fun with the In The Know Bowl last year, and it’s awesome to play together with NFL and NBA stars to show them how it’s done and see just how competitive they get.”

The exhibition, a single-elimination 2v2 Call of Duty tournament, is sponsored by Pizza Hut. Anthony “Nameless” Wheeler and Jeremy “StuDyy’” Astacio will provide in-game action and commentary throughout the event. Kay Adams, host of Good Morning Football, will interview players and athletes throughout the show. 

In The Know will capture content, interviews and livestream the event across the Verizon Media ecosystem, including In The Know, Yahoo, and In The Know social channels. The games will also be live on the Florida Mutineers’ Youtube channel.

For more information, visit intheknow.com/intheknowbowl2021. 

Does Steelers’ Chase Claypool have a shot at OROY?

Claypool has some tough competition to surpass for offensive ROY honors.

As impressive of a season that Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool is enjoying, it’s not likely he’ll be the recipient of the coveted Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But there are still six weeks left in the regular season, and, as we’ve seen, anything can happen in 2020.

With 581 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns, Claypool has exceeded even the Steelers’ expectations. In Week 5, Chase was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his four-touchdown performance versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Dating back to the year 2000, though, only three wide receivers had the distinction of OROY (Anquan Boldin, 2003; Percy Harvin, 2009; Odell Beckham Jr., 2014).

Until Sunday, it was a foregone conclusion that OROY would be going to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Now that Burrow is out for the season, it’s hard to imagine he’ll get enough votes.

Here’s a look at the top rookie talent that Megatron is up against.

Steelers’ Chase Claypool continues historic run of touchdowns scored

It’s been six decades since history has been made like Claypool is doing.

Chase Claypool only needs one. Two would be really special and three would be outstanding.

With one touchdown in today’s Steelers-Jaguars matchup, the rookie receiver will tie for third-most touchdowns through the first 10 games. Claypool’s scores currently stand at nine — seven receiving and two rushing.

Should Megatron score twice today, he’ll surpass Chicago Bears’ Harlon Hill (1954) and Houston Oilers’ Bill Groman (1960) and join Green Bay Packers’ Billy Howton (1952) with 11 touchdowns.

If Claypool finds paydirt three times (hey, we’ve seen it before), he’ll lead all rookies in touchdowns with 12.

But why rush history? Chase has seven games to make it happen.

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ESPN disrespects Steelers’ Chase Claypool in rookie rankings

The sports network did a major disservice to Claypool when they excluded him from their rankings.

What the…?

Apparently, ESPN forgot all about Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool when compiling its latest NFL rookie rankings. What’s worse is that Claypool was excluded entirely. His name was never mentioned in the piece.

Quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow at No. 1 and No. 2 can’t be argued. Wide receivers can’t be compared to other positions. But as far as Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson and Cincinnati Bengals receiver Tee Higgins are concerned, they should not even be mentioned if Claypool isn’t.

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He’s, by far, the most versatile of the 2020 NFL receivers class. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

 

Chase Claypool

  • 500 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, 24 first downs
  • 22 rush yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 first downs

Justin Jefferson

  • 727 yards, 3 touchdowns, 29 first downs
  • Doesn’t run the ball

Tee Higgins

  • 603 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, 32 first downs
  • 28 rush yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 first down

Last I checked, touchdowns put points on the board, not yards, and Chase has nine to Jefferson’s three and Higgins’ four. ESPN needs to take a good hard look at Claypool the next time they rank the rookies.

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Chase Claypool says Sunday was yet another example of Ben drawing up plays in the dirt

Steelers-Bengals was just another day at the office for Big Ben, according to his rookie receiver.

What a season to be a Steelers rookie wide receiver. Not Hines Ward, not Antonio Brown, not Louis Lipps, or even John Stallworth have had undefeated seasons as rookies 10 weeks in.

What’s almost as impressive is Chase Claypool’s quarterback is putting up big numbers, especially for a guy coming off major elbow surgery.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Ben Roethlisberger was quarantined all week leading up to their Week 10 matchup. He was unable to practice with the team until being activated before the Saturday walk-through.

For a receiving group that needs as many reps with Big Ben as it can get, everyone speculated what the offense would look like this week after taking first-team reps with Mason Rudolph.

“Ben’s been around long enough that he can miss a week of practice, and he’ll be just fine,” Claypool said in a post-game interview with NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala. “It was up to us to take care of the little things.”

Claypool says that Big Ben always has something new up his sleeve, calling plays that they had never run before. He added that Sunday’s game was just another example of Roethlisberger drawing up plays in the dirt and says both of his touchdowns resulted from it. “He just tells me a route to run, and I’ll run it, and the ball’s there,” said Claypool.

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Chase also feels the Steelers left a lot on the table and points to himself on a missed downfield shot. “I think there’s a lot left to be had, but we’ve got to keep building every week.”

The rookie doesn’t yet know what it’s like to lose in the NFL but says the key to winning is all about the mindset. “[We have] a week-to-week mindset,” said Claypool. “We can’t take any teams for granted. Dallas came out firing, and we learned our lesson from last week, and we came out firing ourselves this week.”

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Chase Claypool vs. J.K. Dobbins: Revisiting the great Twitter debate

Many Steelers fans were pulling for Pittsburgh to draft running back J.K. Dobbins over wide receiver Chase Claypool back in the spring.

It’s safe to say very few mocked Chase Claypool to the Steelers with their first pick.

Leading up to the NFL draft, many Black and Gold fans saw the need for a running back, and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins was a popular choice. There was a big push to select him in the second round where, instead, Pittsburgh went with the wide receiver from Notre Dame. Not only did the Steelers not get Dobbins, but he went to the hated rival Baltimore Ravens.

I’ll be the first to admit; I questioned what the Steelers thought when they passed on Dobbins — so much so that I wrote a commentary on it.

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We were all surprised. Even Chase himself. “That would’ve been my last guess,” Claypool told the Pittsburgh media post-draft.

It was a mixed bag of reactions to the Chase Claypool selection on Twitter. Many tweets were even deleted, probably those who aren’t good at eating crow.

You won’t find Claypool’s name in bold predictions for the 2020 class or touted in preseason positional rookie rankings. But with 333 yards, he’s the Steelers leading receiver. Add to that four receiving touchdowns and two rushing, and the Steelers got a steal in the draft.

It’s only eight weeks into Mapletron’s professional NFL career; too early to know the full impact of any team’s draft picks, really. Although there’s just a small sampling of the big picture, he’s quieted the haters. Claypool’s production has been more than many of us could’ve imagined. The Steelers are known for bringing rookie receivers along slowly, christening them, instead, via special teams. But not this guy.

As for Baltimore, they are bringing their rookie along slowly. With Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, they didn’t need to throw Dobbins into the fire immediately. While J.K. is averaging 6.2 yards per attempt, that was helped by two long runs of 44 and 34. Otherwise, he has 76 yards rushing. He was known for his hands coming out of college, too — he’s been targeted 14 times in the passing game for a 6.7 average (67% catch rate).

Ingram is unlikely to play today, so it’ll be Edwards and Dobbins against the vaunted Pittsburgh D. Since we’re all usually watching the Steelers on Sundays, this will be our first chance to get a good look at Dobbins as a professional.

In hindsight, I’m confident the Steelers made the right move. Always trust the organization — they usually know what they’re doing.

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Was the Steelers’ secret weapon exposed in Week 7?

The Tennessee Titans figured out what the Pittsburgh Steelers already knew.

Well, it was nice while it lasted…

In recent weeks, the Steelers began utilizing rookie Chase Claypool as a “No. 1” receiver, and his numbers reflected it.

Opponents, however, were not treating him as a No. 1. Claypool and his team were reaping the benefits of their adversary’s oversight.

That is until Tennessee.

In prepping for Week 4… strike that… Week 7, the Tennessee Titans figured out what Pittsburgh already knew: Chase Claypool is somethin’ special.

Tennessee had the luxury of extra prep time for the Steelers due to their Week 4 matchup postponement. That extra time offered the Titans a solid glimpse of just how the Steelers were using Claypool, his progression through the weeks, and the spark he provided on offense.

In six games (two starts), Claypool, affectionately known as Mapletron, has done far more than anyone outside of the organization thought he would. Through Week 6, Chase supplied 356 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns.

Mapletron showed all the tools of a playmaker, and Tennessee was the first to challenge that notion by successfully shutting him down. He drew double teams for the first time this season. Cornerback Malcolm Butler and safety Kevin Byard did an unfortunately stellar job taking him out of the game.

On a short pass in his first opportunity early in the second quarter, Chase was tackled by Jadeveon Clowney two yards behind the line and fumbled. Thanks to awareness the rookie has shown week-in and week-out, Chase recovered the ball. In the next quarter, a pass to Claypool was incomplete, interfered with by Malcolm Butler, which drew a flag. In the fourth, a big spin move on a critical third-down conversion was walked back thanks to pass interference on running back Jaylen Samuels.

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Hopefully, next week Chase will see more opportunities in one-on-one coverage. Short passes have been the name of Ben Roethlisberger’s game, but the Steelers will need to test the Ravens’ defensive backs vertically.

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