Chase Claypool is suddenly on everybody’s radar, if he wasn’t before. That is the sort of inevitable byproduct that stems from scoring four touchdowns in one game, especially if done so in the early portions of your rookie season as a pedigreed prospect on a premiere franchise such as the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Entering Sunday’s game, Claypool had six career catches for 151 yards with one touchdown, and the bulk of that came from just one play, an 84-yard touchdown reception in week two, which remains the longest reception so far in the NFL this season.
Ben Roethlisberger looked his way consistently throughout the last game, however, targeting him 11 times after having thrown in his direction just nine times in the first three weeks. He caught seven of those passes for 110 yards, scoring three touchdowns, and adding a fourth touchdown via the rush from two yards out on second and goal.
Predictably, he was named the offensive player of the week for that performance, but he told reporters yesterday that it doesn’t change his mindset at all. “Confidence definitely builds with games like that”, he allowed, but “I’m not trying to act any different because of a performance. I think that’s when you stop being humble. Just trying to stay the same as I’ve been”.
Earlier this week, Claypool said that head coach Mike Tomlin kept reminding him during and after Sunday’s game to stay humble even though he is making big plays on the field, and that he is going to get a lot of attention this week, as we’ve seen, doing the media circuit as a fresh new face having success on the big stage.
He said that Tomlin didn’t have to worry about that, however, that his approach remains the same. Of course, many have said similar things in the past, particularly at his position. But he strikes me as more of a T.J. Watt, who is merely confident in his abilities, as opposed to an Antonio Brown.
And let’s not forget that he’s a long way away from having established a career for himself. 13 catches for 261 yards and five total touchdowns is strong work for your first four games, especially when you are a wide receiver who starts out fourth on the depth chart, but there is so much more for him to do before he truly accomplishes anything lasting and substantial.
That’s not to diminish anything he’s done so far. One could hardly ask for him to get off to a better start in his career, especially within the circumstances of both the structure of the team and the nature of the offseason. I have no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him. And I also suspect he will approach that with a healthy attitude.