Roethlisberger, Claypool Explain Early-Season Deep Pass Connectivity

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has had a great start to his first NFL season as the Notre Dame product has caught 17 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns. He also has two rushing touchdowns already this season is well. On Wednesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger held his weekly media session and during it he was asked about Claypool and the success he has been having down the field.

“Well, he’s big, he’s thick, he’s strong,” Roethlisberger said of Claypool. “He’s not like a 6’5”, 180-pound guy. He’s got good thickness to him. He can run. Sometimes you get big receivers that don’t high point a ball, reach up and grab it. He does that. He knows how to use his hands. I assume that is some of the old basketball skills that he has.”

Those set of skills that Claypool possesses that Roethlisberger described were on full display in the team’s Sunday home win against the Cleveland Browns on the deep pass down the left side of the field that netted 36 yards and almost resulted in a touchdown. On that play, Claypool did a great job of winning at the top of his route and that’s a part of his game that has really impressed Roethlisberger so far through five games played.

“I think he is gaining a knowledge and understanding of route running and how to get open at the top of routes,” Roethlisberger said on Wednesday about Claypool. “I know he kind of had that crazy offensive pass interference call a couple weeks ago, but it’s those kinds of moments that he knows when to use his hands and when not to and how to get open. I just think he is going to continue to grow and continue to get better, and I think we are all excited to see that.”

Heading into the Steelers week 7 road game against the Tennessee Titans, Claypool leads the team in deep pass receptions with four for 183 yards and two touchdowns He’s also responsible for seven of the team’s 20 total explosive plays of 20 yards or more though five games played.

So far this season, most of the ultra-deep passes of 20 yards or longer that Roethlisberger has thrown this season have gone to Claypool. Because of that, the rookie wide receiver was asked on Wednesday to explain Roethlisberger being comfortable with throwing deep to him so often and so soon.

“Yeah, I mean, you’ve just got a to make a couple of plays here and there,” Claypool said. “He knows you’re not going to make everyone, but it’s definitely expected that you go up and try and get it. So, I think as long as I can come down with a couple, and just hopefully build on that consistency, he’ll just keep throwing them.”

Against the titans this coming Sunday. Claypool, who leads the NFL in yards per route run entering Week 7, according to Pro Football Focus, should get a few more deep pass targets from Roethlisberger. The Titans defense has allowed 14 deep pass completions so far this season for 391 yards and five touchdowns.

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