Why Dante Pettis led Chicago Bears WRs in snaps vs Packers

Parker Hurley
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

In the Chicago Bears’ loss to the New York Jets, the team saw Chase Claypool play his most snaps since being traded. It looked like Claypool was set to be the number-one wide receiver the rest of the season when you add in his ascension to the injury to Darnell Mooney.

However, in a bit of a surprise, Claypool was second in snaps at wide receiver with 33, one behind Dante Pettis.

Chicago Bears have Dante Pettis playing the Darnell Mooney role

The reason is that the team essentially swapped out Darnell Mooney for Dante Pettis. Mooney had been the Chicago Bears’ full-time slot player, and at times he would also play the Z role. Pettis has played 46 snaps in the slot over the last two weeks. That is compared to 69 slot snaps in the first 11 games. It is clear that he is now being asked to do something new.

This makes sense. Pettis is the most physically similar to Mooney. He would be best at the most similar routes. The Chicago Bears could have decided to change their whole offense, but they wanted to keep what they were doing.

So, they turned Mooney into Pettis and kept things rolling otherwise. If Mooney played one more snap than Claypool it would have been no surprise, and that is essentially how the 1-2 punch is going to work.

In a bit of a weird turn, it is not Claypool who is playing the Pettis role. Equanimeous St. Brown is often the X when he is on the field, so in three-wide sets, it is ESB in his role, Claypool at the Z, where Pettis was, and then Pettis in the slot, where Mooney was.

Then, Byron Pringle was the fourth wide receiver who mixed in. Velus Jones was fifth in snaps and N’Keal Harry was sixth, and both of them were in for specific plays to utilize their skill set.

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When you break down the receiving corps, you probably can expect to see Dante Pettis continuing to lead the way, as if he was Darnell Mooney. Do not be discouraged if he is outplaying Claypool, it is just how the 1-2 punch would have looked if the team was healthy.