Mike Tomlin: Chase Claypool’s growth and development can’t happen fast enough for him and us

Steelers receiver Chase Claypool‘s ill-advised, first-down point late in Pittsburgh’s loss to Minnesota last Thursday had clear consequences. More time ran off the clock, which gave the Steelers fewer opportunities to score.

A second-round pick in the 2020 draft, Claypool has had his share of big games and made big plays — both as a rookie and in his second season. But when head coach Mike Tomlin was asked on Tuesday about the first-down point and how he addressed it with the team, Tomlin had a lot to say about growth and maturity for Claypool and young players in general.

“You know, we don’t wait for stuff like that to happen to address it,” Tomlin said in his Tuesday press conference. “That’s built into our two-minute teachings at team development. And, obviously, he had a misstep in that area. He had missteps in other areas. He’s a young guy that’s growing and developing in a lot of ways. It can’t happen fast enough for him and it can’t happen fast enough for us. We’re going to continue to push that growth and development as long as he’s a willing participant. He has been. And so we’re just going to keep moving forward.”

Tomlin added that the same could be said for many young players because they don’t come to the league as “finished products.”

“You guys are witnessing growth and development in Dionate Johnson — not only in quality of play and skills relative to his position but in maturity. He’s a year older than Chase,” Tomlin said. “So that’s going on all around us. We’re seeing the pains of growth and development sometimes when young people have to participate. We see inconsistencies in [punter] Presley Harvin’s performance. We’ve had less than ideal plays from Pat [Freiermuth].

“But we know that we’re pouring into something in all of those guys. And although there’s some short-term negativity associated with pain and discomfort that they go through in terms of growing and learning that often times is negative, we know the benefit — individually and collectively — of staying on task and them gaining that expertise and experience. And it’s reasonable to expect that some of those hiccups [will] disappear and some quicker than others.”

Claypool is second on the Steelers with 753 yards receiving and third with 47 receptions. He’s also caught one touchdown.

If Pittsburgh is to make the postseason in 2021, his performance will be key in the Steelers’ last four games against Tennessee, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Baltimore.