The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly need to start getting more splash plays out of second year wide receiver Chase Claypool moving forward into the regular season and that topic has been a huge one coming out of the team’s bye week. On Thursday, Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada held his weekly media session and once he again he was asked about Claypool and specifically, what the team needs to do moving forward into the regular season in hopes that the former second-round draft pick out of Note Dame will start producing more in his second NFL season
“Obviously, we’ve all got to do a good job,” Canada said. “You know, we’ve got to continue to put him in a position to make plays and you know, those big plays that we like to see him make. You know, those just have to start happening, but he’s working very hard. But I’ve been happy with how he’s trying to attack it and step up in his situation.”
On Wednesday, Claypool talked to the media and during his question-and-answer session he talked about how he looks forward to maybe moving around a little on offense and thus playing various wide receiver positions. On the heels of him saying that, Canada was asked on Thursday to define what it is about Claypool’s skillset that would allow for him to possibly start moving around more in the offense
“Obviously, he’s a big guy,” Canada said of Claypool. “I think his change of direction is different than some guys who have his size. I think there’s some big guys who are more true straight-line guys. And Chase it’s a straight-line guy, don’t mistake what I’m saying, but I do think he has the ability to do some different things because of his skillset.”
Personally, and with fellow Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, I think Claypool should start playing more in the slot moving forward. He has the skillset to do just that, and it could result in some tasty matchups at times with him ending up being covered by a safety, nickel cornerback or even a linebacker. Claypool talked about that notion on Wednesday as well.
“I just feel like you can manipulate a defense,” Claypool said about what might happen if he is allowed to start moving around more on offense. “You can put a linebacker on me or, you know, if you have a corner, then there’s a linebacker covering one wide receiver. So, either way it’s either safety, linebacker, someone, some type of mismatch somewhere. So, maybe put me inside is a mismatch.”
While Claypool played a lot outside during his college career at Notre Dame, he did play some in the slot there as well. He was quite productive at the slot position as well.
With Claypool hopefully having the hamstring injury he dealt with recently now behind him, and with the Steelers coming off their bye week this week, just maybe we’ll see him start playing more in the slot moving forward and specifically, starting on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Whatever his future usage winds up being, it needs to result in him not only catching more passes on a game-by-game basis, but him producing more explosive plays as well.