With a full offseason under his belt as Bear, wide receiver Chase Claypool believes change is coming to Chicago.
"I truly believe that this year from last year will be a night-and-day difference," he told talkSPORT about the season ahead. "I think fans will be loving it next year. I'm excited, obviously with the additions we had in the offseason, but just being able to stack that knowledge from last season. All those learning and those growth spurts that we had to go through to this season, I think it's gonna be great."
The Bears finished 2022 with a 3-14 record, the worst in the NFL, with both an offense and defense that ranked in the bottom 10 in scoring and yards. Fans would appreciate a difference of any kind, but there is reason to believe the team can see a leap in production.
Although quarterback Justin Fields wasn't where the team needs him to be as a passer last year, he has a plethora of new weapons to help unlock that part of his game moving forward. Plus, he's already a threat on the ground, coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,143 yards, the second-most ever by a QB.
The new WR1, D.J. Moore, already has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons through five years, and his final campaign with Carolina still culminated in 888 yards and seven touchdowns despite catching passes from three different starting quarterbacks.
His presence allows the speedy Darnell Mooney to reassume a No. 2 role, where he thrived with a 1,000-yard season of his own in 2021.
There's also Moore's former and current teammate, D’Onta Foreman. He racked up 914 rushing yards with the Panthers last year and joins a running back room that includes fourth-rounder Roschon Johnson and Khalil Herbert, last year's most efficient RB in terms of yards per carry (5.7).
The offense now boasts a troublesome duo at tight end, too, pairing the team's receiving TD leader Cole Kmet (seven) last year with free-agent addition Robert Tonyan, who is a full season past his 2021 ACL tear and posted 11 scores of his own in 2020.
The group as constructed is unproven together, but the pieces are there to back up Claypool's summer optimism.
The bigger concern might be how Claypool fits and performs with the new offense.
He's a big body with red-zone capabilities that should complement Moore and Mooney, but he has been a disappointment thus far after Chicago traded for him at last year's deadline.
Claypool started three games for the Bears with seven appearances, collecting just 14 receptions for 140 yards and no scores.
He deserves the benefit of the doubt, and should improve by no longer learning the playbook or developing chemistry on the fly, but the year ahead is a massive one for both parties -- Claypool is a free agent next offseason and the Bears invested a second-round pick on him.
Claypool will surely find motivation under the circumstances. For now, though, he's happy to hype up his squad as a whole.
"It's an exciting and dynamic team all together," he said. "Offense is gonna be explosive. Defense is gonna be playmakers. I think we're gonna be a fun team to watch. And I think we're not gonna back down from anyone."