Caleb Williams' head start learning Bears' offense should pay dividends later on

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Caleb Williams’ head start learning Bears’ offense should pay dividends later on originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Caleb Williams took the practice field for the first time as a Bear on Friday at rookie minicamp at Halas Hall.

The Bears have created a concrete development plan for their rookie quarterback, one that will be vital to their short- and long-term goals.

That work began well before the Bears made Williams the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Once Williams and the Bears got comfortable with each other and their union became fait accompli, Williams asked the Bears if he could get a head start on learning the plays and footwork required for offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s attack.

“You always want to get ahead if you can, and so with those things that they gave me, I would take it to my QB training, and we would use the cadence, we would use the drops, we would use all those things,” Williams said Friday before the start of rookie minicamp at Halas Hall. “So that’s not something that’s on my mind throughout the process of when I actually got here. So that’s something that you always want and working on, the drops, the cadence, and then also the routes when you put it all together and train and everything.”

Williams and the Bears appeared destined for each other since early in the pre-draft process. However, Williams didn’t start working on his offensive initiation until after his top-30 visit to Halas Hall in early April.

“So top-30 was big for me, gave me a bunch of notes, ideas of how the offense is, verbiage, drops, cadence and all the things that really matter — break from the huddle, getting into the huddle, being able to communicate and how those things go,” Williams said. “So right now, I feel pretty good. Obviously we’ll go out here today, and we’re gonna have a few mess-ups, probably, and things like that, working to eliminate those as fast as possible. But you need those things to grow and progress throughout the time and years and things like that. So excited, but I feel pretty good right now.”

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff communicated with Williams’ quarterback trainer, Will Hewlett, giving him some of the basic fundamentals to work on with Williams ahead of the draft. That work will hopefully pay dividends as the Bears look to get Williams off the developmental launching pad this spring.

“Will Hewlett’s been awesome in this whole process,” Eberflus said Friday. “Been able to have great conversations with him. He gets it. He’s trained a lot of guys. He’s elite at what he does. It was a pleasure to work with him. He was working on our stuff a little bit — cadence and those types of things and the footwork that we want. That’s been a good process for us.”

As the Bears and Williams start what they hope is a long and successful journey together, Eberflus and his staff have crafted a plan that will have clear benchmarks for Williams to pass at each point in the offseason and training camp.

“With the development piece of it is operation,” Eberflus said. “Operation of the offense but understanding of the concepts. We have a plan in place and the concepts that we’re going to get taught through the offseason and leading into the summer. We’ll have a plan for the summer and leading into training camp. Full understanding of the concepts – run, pass, checks and his fundamentals. The fundamentals that we have in place for him, which he’s really good fundamentally but we have some things we want him to work on and improve as well.”

Williams feels good about his development at this early stage and hopes to help bring others along once he gets his feet firmly underneath him.

“Diving into the playbook. Getting to a point where there’s certain things that I can teach some of the guys that maybe it’s John Jack or Rome that they’re not understanding that I may understand,” Williams said when asked what he wants to accomplish at rookie minicamp.

“So being able to teach is always big, because it’s also another way for you to learn. It also shows you how much that you know, and so I would take those and then just being around the guys, enjoying the time together, getting on the field, executing, and being even-keeled throughout the whole thing, because I’m gonna make mistakes and I don’t really like mistakes, and messing up and I know there’s a bunch of guys that are going to be in the same position as me. Being in that position and being even-keeled and being in control, cool, calm and collected not only helps me but also all the other guys on the field.”

Williams and the Bears have a lot of work ahead of them, but they are already ahead of schedule as their vital offseason begins.

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