For those of you who watch PFT Live, you’ve heard this before. (Keep reading, anyway.)
If the Steelers want to dig themselves out of the rock bottom they’ve recently struck with their third straight loss after starting 11-0, they need to rely more heavily on one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL.
Chase Claypool can get open, can catch, can run after the catch, and can score. He just can’t get on the field as much as he should be on the field. When he is on the field, he doesn’t see the ball nearly as much as he should.
With 10 total touchdowns in his first 10 games, Claypool has earned more chances. However, his playing time remains mired in the 65-percent range. In Week 13 against Washington, he was on the field for only 44 percent of the offensive snaps. Only once this year has Claypool had more than 80-percent playing time.
He should be on the field 100 percent of the time, or close to it. And he should be catching more than three passes (Week 15 and Week 14) or two passes (Week 13). He needs more. More playing time, more targets, more catches.
With the recent (and justified) obsession over the team’s unwillingness or inability to commit to the run, few have pointed out the other problem: Not nearly enough Claypool.
To his credit, he’s not complaining. We’ll complain for him. And if the Steelers want to go as far as they can in the postseason, they’ll use him more.
Who knows why that isn’t happening, but someone is focusing on the wrong issues in deciding whether to send him onto the gridiron or to throw the ball his way. Is it a rookie thing? Is it a “Ben’s not a fan” thing? Who knows. But we know this — he’s a difference maker, and the more he’s involved, the better off the Steelers will be.