Six-time Pro Bowler and Pittsburgh native Brandon Marshall recently paid the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp a quick visit, and during that time, he spoke about the work that he has put in this offseason with Chase Claypool, the team’s third-year wide receiver to whom he has served as something of a mentor in the past few months.
He talked about having what he called a “brutally honest” conversation with the younger wide receiver about the importance of getting his mind right in order to reach his true physical potential on the field. And one of the reasons he decided to get invested in the cause is because he knows what Claypool is capable of doing.
Asked about his relationship with Marshall and why the former star, now a successful podcaster, took an interest in him, he told Bryant McFadden for CBS Sports, “I think he sees that because I’m a very similar frame and build as him, and we have similar play styles, so I think he loved the opportunity to get to work with me and polish me a little bit”.
“I think he sees the potential just like I see the potential in myself”, he added, “and we’re gonna keep working ‘til we get there one day”.
I think we can all safely say that Claypool has a lot of belief in his abilities. When he appeared on Marshall’s I Am Athlete podcast, he declared himself a top three wide receiver in the game, or at least believed that he was capable of playing up to that. He walked that back a bit over time after some blowback, but it’s a good aspiration to have.
I particularly like the last part of Claypool’s quote about his work with Marshall to CBS Sports, because it takes that aspirational tone. He talks about the potential that they both see in him, and then talks about an understanding of the process that goes into reaching that potential.
I don’t think there is any doubt that he enters the 2022 season with a great awareness that he has a lot of things to prove to a lot of people if he wants to be perceived as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.
There is a question, though, of how many opportunities he will actually see in this Steelers offense minus Ben Roethlisberger, who was seemingly good for 500-plus pass attempts per season provided that he could stay healthy.
Mitch Trubisky is a 500-attempt guy, though. He attempted 516 passes in 15 starts during the 2019 season, even if it only translated to a little over 3,000 yards, averaging a fairly poor 6.1 yards per pass attempt. That also happened to be his lowest mark of his career. But perhaps with more talent around him in Pittsburgh, he can be more efficient while being a high-volume passer. It will be up to guys like Claypool to make his job easy.