Chase Claypool‘s fearlessness on the field has helped him become a starting NFL wide receiver. His fearlessness in front of a microphone has led to eye raising quotes that have often put the 24-year-old in the spotlight.
Claypool, who recently declared that new teammate George Pickens would be the NFL‘s best rookie receiver, told CBS Sports HQ on Tuesday that there is no limit to what Pittsburgh’s offense can do in 2022.
“I think we can be the best offense in the country, as long as we do all the right things,” Claypool said from Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. “We’ve got to stay healthy. We’ve got to execute plays, but I think there is no ceiling for us. I know a lot of people are gonna get on my head for that. But I believe that, as I should.”
Pittsburgh’s new, young wideouts, particularly Pickens and fellow rookie Calvin Austin III, are two reasons why Claypool feels that the Steelers‘ offense can be a force. Both players have made the most of their practice reps with Claypool, fellow receiver Diontae Johnson, tight end Pat Freiermuth and running back Najee Harris missing time during camp. The Steelers are counting on them and several other wideouts to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud, who departed in free agency.
“They’ve been doing a really good job keeping up right where the older guys left off when we were out,” Claypool said. “Calvin Austin’s doing a great job. Cody White’s doing a great job. Anthony Miller. My roommate, Gunner (Olszewski) is doing a great job. It’s super fun to watch those guys take advantage of the opportunity when some guys are out.”
Claypool isn’t the only one who is excited about the offense’s potential. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky told CBS HQ that his skillset will be showcased inside Matt Canada’s offense. Trubisky also feels that the Steelers’ offense will have an air of unpredictability that, if successful, should make opposing defenses play more on their heels.
“It’s dynamic and multiple,” Trubisky said of Canada’s offense. “I think they’re taking the things that we’re really comfortable with, the moving the pockets, the sprint outs, the play-actions in the run. Everything’s tied in together, so the run’s going to look like the pass and the pass is going to look like the run.
“And then we have lot of quick jet motions that can really confuse the defense and throw them off. So without giving away too much, it’s pretty dynamic, and it allows the playmakers to get the ball, and I think it also takes care of the guys up front. And then once we get to it, we’ll utilize the mobile quarterback as well. I’m looking forward to that.”
The Steelers’ array of playmakers, Trubisky feels, is another facet of the offense that could lead to a big season. Johnson is coming off his first Pro Bowl campaign. Harris is coming off of a 2021 season that saw him break several franchise rookie records. Freiermuth caught seven touchdown passes during his rookie season. Pickens, Austin and Olszewski round out a receiving corps that has more upside than the previous season. Pittsburgh’s offensive line, a unit that struggled at times last season, has also been rebuilt with the additions of free agents James Daniels and Mason Cole. Those moves have allowed Kendrick Green to move from center to guard, his natural position.
Pittsburgh is also hoping for a big year from Claypool, whose 2021 season left something to be desired after his highly-impressive rookie campaign. Like the offense, Claypool is also not putting a limit on what he can do this season.
“No ceiling as well,” Claypool said. “You know, I’m as good as I as I want to be. I’ve just gotta do little things right, keep stacking days and not worry about too many things at once, just [keeping things] day-by-day.”