Bill Belichick gives lofty comparison when talking about Chase Claypool
September 16th, 2022
In the past, Bill Belichick has steered away from player comparisons. However, he dropped a pretty notable one during his press conference on Friday.
During that media availability, Belichick was asked about the challenges presented by Steelers third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool. “Big, fast, really good hands. Big catch radius, he’s kind of always open – it’s like covering a guy like [Rob] Gronkowski.”
“No matter where you are on him, there’s a place where he can reach and get the ball where you can’t reach and get the ball,” Belichick continued. “They use him in a variety of ways – down the field, catch-and-run plays, hand him the ball, plays and things like that. He’s a big physical player. He can block, block the point of attack, run, hard guy to tackle, downfield receiver as well as a short an intermediate receiver. He can get you in a lot of different ways. Tough matchup.”
Ok, that does sound a lot like a description of Gronkowski. And it’s not totally inaccurate when it comes to the skillset of Claypool, who is 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds. But it’s very high praise to compare a third-year player to the greatest tight end of all time, considering just how dominant Gronkowski was within that skillset.
As for Claypool, in 32 career games he’s caught 125 passes on 220 targets for 1,751 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also run the ball30 times for 4.9 yards per carry with another two scores.
Perhaps what makes Belichick’s comment stand out even more is that the Steelers’ starting tight end, Newburyport native Pat Freiermuth, has actually been referred to as ‘Baby Gronk’ in the past. However, apparently he’s not the one Belichick sees as Gronk’s Pittsburgh counterpart, at least not as much.
Expect to see Claypool early and often this week. He had 10 touches in Pittsburgh’s season opener, with four catches on six targets plus another six carries. That was second on the team only behind running back Najee Harris. Given that usage and how Belichick spoke about him on Friday, he should be a if not the focal point of the Patriots’ defensive game plan.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.