Claypool’s ineffective blocking and zero catches on two targets — including a first-quarter drop on third-and-7 that forced the Bears to settle for a field goal — has brought up questions about consequences for the embattled receiver.
Eberflus said he wouldn’t talk about which players will be inactive Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for competitive reasons, but he noted the Bears are “looking at all possibilities right now” when asked specifically about Claypool.
“We’re looking at all things to make our team better,” Eberflus said. “Who’s going to be up and who’s going to be down in terms of the active roster.”
The Bears are waiting to see more in games from Claypool, whom they acquired last November from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2023 second-round pick.
Coaches chalked up his subpar production in seven games with the Bears in 2022 — 14 catches for 140 yards — to still getting assimilated into the offense, as well as a December disruption due to a knee injury. They talked about Claypool’s expected growth in the offseason, but he missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury.
And after his outing in a 38-20 loss to the Packers, there are outside questions about what to do about him.
Eberflus said the Bears met with Claypool, who is in his fourth NFL season, in the aftermath of the loss to talk about his effort and perimeter blocking.
“You guys all saw the plays,” Eberflus said. “The perimeter blocking needed to improve for all of us. And we’re going to work hard to get that done.”
The Bears have seven wide receivers on their active roster and made Equanimeous St. Brown and Velus Jones Jr. inactive against the Packers. Among St. Brown’s best attributes are his blocking ability and “dependability,” according to quarterback Justin Fields.
Asked whether Claypool’s performance was due to an inability to block or his effort, Eberflus said, “Everything comes down to technique.”
He said Claypool has displayed good blocking technique in practice.
“That’s why we had him in those positions,” Eberflus said. “But perimeter blocking is all about technique. It’s all about your angles. It’s all about your intensity, for sure. … It doesn’t matter if you’re push-cracking on a linebacker or cracking down on somebody inside.”
In an ideal scenario, the 6-foot-4, 238-pound Claypool would provide the Bears with a big-bodied receiver to complement DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney. But they still are waiting for him to emerge.
Fields said Claypool needs to “just keep going at it.”
“The biggest thing is just having that same mentality as he did in camp and just keep working hard every day and just keep going,” Fields said. “Of course, he probably didn’t have the game he wanted to have, probably wanted to have more catches. We all probably didn’t have the game that we wanted to have.
“Just keep working, keep getting better. That’s the theme of this week. The theme of today is work toward 1-0 on Sunday.”