The Chicago Bears are doing it slowly, but they did get Chase Claypool a bit more playing time last week. It was not enough for fans, but his snap share went up from 31% to 42%.
Beyond that, his routes run with the team went from 40% to 30% and back up to 53% last week. With that increase, he was the number three wide receiver, so who lost snaps?
Chicago Bears are reducing Dante Pettis’ playing time
Darnell Mooney was obviously still the number one, and Equanmieous St. Brown was second in snaps. This means that Claypool stepped in for Dante Pettis, for the most part.
Pettis went from 40% of the routes to 48% and down to 26%, basically a reverse split from what Chase Claypool has seen. They combined for 78-80% in each game. Now, the split is leaning heavily toward Claypool.
Pettis did not receive a target in this game. It is clear that as things move that he will trend into the fourth wide receiver, and possibly fifth. Byron Pringle ran 41% of the routes in his return last week, then 21% last week. So, he is just a few behind Pettis at this point.
In most cases, the team brings in Pringle as a bigger slot and pushes Darnell Mooney outside. The Bears’ best three may end up being Pringle, Mooney, and Claypool, although the ability to mix in Equanimeous St. Brown as an outside wideout can push any of the other three into the slot as they mix and match.
Things will get very interesting when Dane Cruikshank returns. He missed Sunday with a hamstring injury, and that is what allowed the team to call up Velus Jones as a sixth wideout. Jones took his role on special teams and played more special teams snaps than offensive snaps, and we are not talking return snaps, either.
Still, when Cruikshank returns, you would assume he gets his job back, as he is a special teams ace. Does that mean that Velus Jones is back to being inactive? Or does the slow shift out of the offense mean that Pettis is going to eventually shift behind Velus Jones as well?