Are wide receiver changes coming to Chicago Bears offense

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

The usage of the Chicago Bears wide receivers has been a bit of a big topic. The team added N’Keal Harry and Chase Claypool via trade, and Byron Pringle just came back from injury. So, things have been moving.

Last week there was a bit of a surprise as Pringle returned, but it ended up limiting the snaps of Claypool and pushed Harry to be inactive. Beyond that, the addition of Claypool essentially just made third-round rookie Velus Jones useless, so he has been inactive.

After some surprising usage came last week, there are reports that the usage may change.

Will Chicago Bears make Dante Pettis inactive?

The Chicago Bears’ current three-wide receiver set features Equanimeous St. Brown, Darnell Mooney, and Dante Pettis. ESB has essentially held the spot over N’Keal Harry, and the Bears making Harry inactive last week solidified that.

Byron Pringle is number four, so, if Claypool is going to step into a role, it would be for Dante Pettis.

If Velus Jones is going to get more work for special teams to work, it will probably be for Dante Pettis. Jones will likely step into the role that Khalil Herbert held returning kicks, but the team has always kept five wide receivers active.

They will likely want to call up Darrynton Evans to be the third running back this weekend. With that in mind, they are likely to swap Jones as active, and Pettis as inactive. That would mean that Jones is going to be back as the primary return option for punts and kicks.

So, the Chicago Bears wide receiver usage will probably be as follows

X – Equanimeous St. Brown has held down this role as the blocker and a player who always sticks to the outside.

Z – Chase Claypool has played this role opposite of Diontae Johnson every year except this year when they moved him into the slot. He will take the work that Dante Pettis held. That would mean an increase from about 30% of the snap share to about 50% of the snap share.

Slot – Darnell Mooney has held down the slot role and will continue to do this.

WR4 – Byron Pringle held down the role as WR4 last week, and he will continue to do this. This often will be in sets when Mooney and Claypool are outside, and Pringle shifts into the slot.

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WR5 – Velus Jones will go from inactive into the fifth wide receiver role. This is where Chase Claypool was. If you have noticed Claypool has a catch on a jet sweep and a rushing attempt. That is about the only work he has gotten as he has been eased in, and been used in the WR5 role that was once the role of Velus Jones. With Claypool playing more, Jones can get his role back.

Inactive: Dante Pettis, N’Keal Harry