When players shuttled in and out of the lineup during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Luke Getsy learned how to get newcomers ready to play at a moment's notice.
The Bears offensive coordinator is relying on lessons he learned as a Packers assistant two years ago to help prepare receiver Chase Claypool to play Sunday against the Dolphins—less than a week after the third-year pro was acquired in a trade with the Steelers.
"As far as getting him ready for us, the COVID year kind of did some really cool things in the sense of how to prepare somebody," Getsy said. "This guy is out and then you have to have somebody kind of out of nowhere playing in the game. So we have some really cool tools to help him learn what he needs to learn quickly with not having a coach with him for 24 hours a day.
"I think he'll be OK. We'll make sure that he's ready to rock 'n' roll for whatever his role might be come Sunday."
Getsy declined to provide details about the "really cool tools" he mentioned, saying only: "There's some cool stuff that we're able to kind of dive into technology to help be creative and give guys an opportunity to learn things a little bit quicker."
While the Bears are hopeful that Claypool will play Sunday, it's unclear how extensive his role will be.
"The level of what that looks like, we're not quite sure," Getsy said.
Claypool was selected by the Steelers in the second round of the 2020 draft out of Notre Dame. He appeared in 39 games with 27 starts over three seasons, catching 153 passes for 2,044 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The 6-4, 238-pounder's most productive year remains his rookie season when he caught 62 passes for 873 yards and nine TDs.
"I see a guy who just looking or reflecting or watching over the last couple years had an unbelievable rookie season and shows a really cool, unique set of skills to be able to move around the field for Pittsburgh," Getsy said. "He played inside. He played outside. That's something that's important. A guy who can do a lot of different things is really important for us in how we attack the game.
"I'm really excited to see how far he can take it. I'm sure it will be one of those things where each week he'll be able to get a little bit more."
Take a look at new Bears receiver Chase Claypool in action. In 39 career games, all with the Steelers, the 6-foot-4, 238-pounder has caught 153 passes for 2,044 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams admitted that losing two veteran leaders like Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn would have bothered him for a longer period of time when he was a younger coach.
"I would say 10 or 15 years ago I'd be bummed and it would linger on for a long time," Williams said. "Now, I'm still bummed, but I recover a lot quicker mentally. I know that in the NFL, these things do happen. That's the bad part of it. But as you get older, a little bit more experienced, you don't let those things linger because people are counting on me.
"My guys are counting on me, [looking to see]: 'What type of attitude is coach bringing into the room? Is he in the tank or does he have a healthy perspective of what's gone on?' I try to bring a healthy perspective of losing guys and still acknowledge it and then move on in a positive direction."
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Sunday's matchup with the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field.
Gill admired as person, player
Coaches often praise their players, but special teams coordinator Richard Hightower paid rookie punter Trenton Gill the ultimate compliment Thursday.
"First of all, my daughter's eight years old, so obviously she's not ready to get married," Hightower said. "But when it's time for her to get married, you've heard this saying before, [Gill] is the type of kid I want my daughter to marry."
Hightower described the seventh-round draft pick as "a person that's kind, a person that knows how to treat women, a person that knows how to be a leader, a person that works his tail off, [and] would be successful if he was a football player or if he was a coach or reporter."
"Whatever he does, he's going to give 100 percent at it," Hightower said. "He's going to go the extra mile. He's proactive. You give him one task, he'll come back with three questions. That's the type of guy he is."
Gill ranks 14th in the NFL in gross punting average at 48.5 yards and 11th in net average at 42.6 yards. He also serves as the holder for Cairo Santos, who has made all 12 field goals he's attempted this season.
"[Gill] is a technician," Hightower said. "I think being around Cairo has really helped him, like Cairo's leadership. But this kid was already a leader. It's rare for a rookie to behave the way he behaves. He's still a rookie, but sometimes we forget he is. He's always upstairs studying film. He really takes his job super seriously. He always has a smile on his face.
"Cairo said it before, you can ask Cairo about that, but that gives Cairo a tremendous amount of confidence; every time he goes out there to kick the ball, there's the way Trent carries himself and how hard he works at holding, and how he's always in a great, upbeat mood. That kid's a joy to be around, he really is. I can't say enough great things about Trent."