How Bears have seen ‘motivated' Chase Claypool respond to poor game, heavy criticism

How Bears have seen ‘motivated' Chase Claypool respond to poor game, heavy criticism originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert has coached some great wideouts during his 20-year career in the NFL. Names like Anquan Boldin, Odell Beckham Jr., Emmanuel Sanders, and the late Demaryius Thomas top the list of receivers coached by Tolbert.

He knows there's no one-size-fits-all approach to coaching receivers, and finding the way that works for each guy often takes time.

Such is the case with Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool, who has come under heavy criticism for his lackluster performance and lack of effort during the Bears' 38-20 Week 1 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

"I think at the end of the day, all players — especially NFL wide receivers — they want to help the team win," Tolbert said Thursday at Halas Hall of Claypool's effort-based issues and obvious irritation Sunday. "If they feel like they're not helping the team win, they all get frustrated. He felt like, this past game, that he wasn't helping the team win enough, so he was frustrated with everything. Himself, everything. The more we get all of them involved, the better off we'll all be."

Claypool arrived last November when the Bears dealt a second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for him at the NFL trade deadline. Tolbert admits it took him time to figure out how best to coach Claypool, but he believes he has the pulse of the fourth-year wide receiver and can get him back on track.

"Everybody has a button to be pushed a different way," Tolbert said. "His button is different from everybody else. It's my job to find that button. I think I found it. I met with him extra. He's come in early. He's been the first receiver in the meeting rooms all week long. He's the most hustled receiver on the practice field the past two days. Hopefully, that continues tomorrow. And that'll continue to hopefully go into the game with that same attitude.

"Each person has their own different way of being motivated and corrected. And I have the way to get to him. And I need to do a better job of that. And he needs to do a better job of doing his part, so we can all get what we want, which is a win."

Viral clips of Claypool giving poor effort on blocks and not finishing routes took over the internet after the Bears' Week 1 flop.

Head coach Matt Eberflus said he met with Claypool after the game to address the issue. Quarterback Justin Fields, who has been one of Claypool's most prominent supporters, said the receiver needs to bring the same energy he brought to training camp to the game on Sundays.

The bottom line: Whatever the issue is/was, the Bears need to find a way to reach their No. 2 receiver and get him to be locked in on a down-to-down basis.

Tolbert saw the clips. Everyone at Halas Hall did. While he didn't think it accurately represented the receiver's overall performance, he knows Claypool can't pick and choose when the gas pedal is all the way down, especially as a blocker.

"I think and they all have to do better on the backside, backside block," Tolbert said. "The frontside, I think he was pretty good. He missed those two cracks which everybody saw that. But other than that, the frontside blocking was pretty decent, but the backside blocking. I always tell them, ‘Try to be the best player on the field without the ball.’ I don’t think we accomplished that this past week, being the best player without the ball."

Claypool didn't speak to the media for the second day in a row Thursday.

On the field, Tolbert has seen a motivated Claypool that he is hopeful will carry into Sunday's game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Actually, his attitude has been really good this week," Tolbert said. "He … I watched him practice yesterday and today — he hustled more than any receiver on the field today. So that was an improvement. And I tell guys every time you play like you practice. So he’s practicing that way, so I’m hoping he’ll play that way."

While Eberflus said Wednesday that the Bears will evaluate everything in terms of who would be active Sunday, Tolbert said Claypool has been taking the usual amount of first-team reps, and the plan, as far as he knows, is for Claypool to suit up Sunday.

Claypool only had two targets in the loss to the Packers and did not catch a pass. If a Bears passing game that struggled in Week 1 is going to get off the ground and reach its peak, they need Claypool to full-go on every snap.

"I think Chase is motivated," Getsy said Thursday. "I think he wants to do it. I think he had a couple of plays where he didn’t execute it, and that hurt us. He knows that. But Chase wants to do it. I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting."

The Bears are optimistic whatever happened in Week 1 will be a thing of the past with Claypool. It has to be.

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