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2021 South Side Questions: Will Chase Claypool Grow From Past Week?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will Chase Claypool grow from this past week?

Second-year wide receiver Chase Claypool had a series of misadventures during the team’s last game against the Minnesota Vikings, culminating in his foolishly celebrating a first down during a two-minute drill while the Steelers had no timeouts.

He had been benched for a brief spell earlier in the game, hinting at the fact that these had been lingering issues that didn’t just come out of nowhere. Head coach Mike Tomlin has had some pointed words toward him during his recent press conferences as well, yesterday being the most recent.

“He’s a young guy that’s growing and developing in a lot of ways. It can’t happen fast enough for him, and it can’t happen fast enough for us”, he said of Claypool. “We’re going to continue to push that growth and development as long as he’s a willing participant. He has been, and so we’re just gonna keep moving forward”.

Truth be told, Claypool didn’t seem to entirely grasp what he had done wrong or why it was wrong when he spoke to the media in the aftermath of Thursday’s loss, at one point attempting to deflect some of the blame on the official. But it was never about just the late celebration. As I’ve mentioned multiple times recently, concerns about his maturity are not recent.

Claypool is obviously a very talented player who is capable of being a difference-maker on any play during which he is on the field. He runs hot and cold, however, when it comes to actually living up to those abilities. And we’ve seen maturity issues take down more accomplished wide receivers in the past.

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