July 13, 2024

The Chicago Bears are accelerating the development of rookie quarterback Caleb Williams as they begin OTA’s at Halas Hall this week. Before officially selecting Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears aimed to familiarize him with Shane Waldron’s offensive system.

Now, during OTA’s, the Bears are fully immersing Williams in the playbook. “We’re not holding back. We’re giving him a lot of information,” head coach Matt Eberflus said on Thursday. “We’re giving him the offense and you want to be able to go through the whole offense before the off-season gets done, primarily most of it, and work it into the summer. We’ll have a plan for him there and work him into training camp and then go from there.”

Caleb Williams practice highlight already has Bears fans going wild

The Bears are pushing Williams to learn the offense and experience any early struggles now, so he will be prepared to start in Week 1. The first week of OTA’s has been a mixed bag for Williams, who had a strong start on the first day but struggled during the first open media session on Thursday. During 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills, Williams faced difficulties, including nearly being intercepted twice, struggling with errant throws, and experiencing issues with receivers getting open.

It’s important to note that the Bears were missing key players, including wide receivers Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze, as well as starting offensive linemen Nate Davis and Darnell Wright.

Facing a defense that improved over the course of the 2023 season and features one of the NFL’s best secondaries, led by veteran Kevin Byard, is beneficial for Williams. Byard and other defensive leaders are challenging Williams to make his transition to the NFL as rigorous as possible, ultimately aiding his development.

“Make it as hard on him as possible. Going out there showing some swag, talking trash, doing all that stuff because at the end of the day, he’s going to have to lead us there,” Byard said. “That’s kind of how it’s gonna be. I said something to him at the end of practice: Keep going, we’re gonna keep making you better. Not necessarily saying that he had a terrible day, but days like this are gonna make you better. So that’s our job. In just the first three days of practice, he’s done a lot of positive things and made some really great throws.”

Experiencing some growing pains is normal, especially during OTA’s. There’s no reason to panic as transitioning to the NFL game from college takes time. Williams could actually benefit from challenging days like this. Despite it being just three practices, Eberflus remains excited about what he’s seen.

“It’s been very impressive. It’s been very impressive,” Eberflus said. “His ability to chunk information, put it into buckets, and operate.”

The Bears are mulling adding a defensive analyst to coach Matt Eberflus'  staff - The San Diego Union-Tribune

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