Bears notebook: ‘It’s gonna take time’ to see big games from WR Chase Claypool

Plus, a look at tight end Cole Kmet’s big game and injury, as well as some key roster decisions.

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A photo of Bears WR Chase Claypool running with the ball after a catch against the Lions.

Chase Claypool had one catch for eight yards against the Lions.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

While the expectations needed to be realistic for new wide receiver Chase Claypool after he joined the Bears in a midseason trade, their desperate need for playmakers in the passing game didn’t allow for much patience.

Claypool figures to be a big factor in the offense eventually but had another quiet game in the Bears’ 31-30 loss to the Lions on Sunday. Justin Fields hit him for an eight-yard pass in the second quarter and didn’t throw to him again until firing incomplete with two minutes left.

“I was prepared to be more involved, but I’m not expecting too much right now because I just got here,” Claypool said. “Me having a full understanding of the playbook will help [offensive coordinator Luke Getsy], and I’m pretty close to that, so the next couple of weeks won’t be a problem.

“I’m not frustrated at all. As long as we win, I’ll be fine.”

His production is intertwined with the Bears’ chances, though, so the sooner they expand his role, the sooner they might get those victories Claypool covets.

The numbers weren’t there, but he felt more comfortable in the offense than the week before, when he caught two passes for 13 yards in 26 snaps against the Dolphins. He didn’t anticipate having to do “too much cramming” leading up to the upcoming game against the Falcons.

Nonetheless, he also has to establish chemistry with Fields, and Fields warned that “it’s gonna take time” for the two of them to connect.

“I don’t think anybody expected him to come in and just start having 100-yard games,” Fields said. “It doesn’t work like that.”

Darnell Mooney led the wide receivers with four catches for 57 yards, and he was the only one to catch more than one pass.

Kmet’s catches

Tight end Cole Kmet went nearly two years without catching a touchdown pass. Now he does it all the time.

Kmet was the Bears’ best weapon other than Fields and caught four passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second-highest yardage total of his career and his second consecutive two-touchdown game. He has 11 catches for 126 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games.

The downside for Kmet was that he took a hit to the right leg late in the game and missed some time. He appeared to be testing out his knee on the sideline but said afterward he was “a little banged up” and the injury was “nothing serious.”

Harry, Jones benched

With the return of Byron Pringle, the Bears scratched healthy wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Velus Jones against the Lions.

It was fairly predictable that they would bench Jones, a third-round pick, for a second consecutive week, but Harry’s scratch was slightly surprising.

Harry played 80 snaps over his first two games, then dipped to only 28% against the Dolphins.

The Bears sat right guard Teven Jenkins, who was questionable with a hip injury, and started Michael Schofield in his place.

Starting defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee) and starting cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) also were out.

The Bears lost running back Khalil Herbert to a hip injury late in the game.

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