'Light years ahead': Bears love Caleb Williams' development plan

Vince Carbonneau
May 18, 2024  (12:50)

Caleb Williams in training camp
Photo credit: ESPN

Bears rookie quarterback Caleb Williams shines with relentless dedication at minicamp

Caleb Williams is relentless. The Bears rookie quarterback is determined to maximize every moment, striving to meet the high expectations he and others have set for him.
When rookie left tackle Kiran Amegadjie arrives at Halas Hall, Williams is already there, working diligently to master his tasks. His efforts extend from dawn until bedtime. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner often texts quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph late at night, seeking more details about the Bears' plays.
"He's one of those guys who want to know why," Joseph said after the Bears' rookie minicamp wrapped up Saturday. "He wants to understand every aspect. Last night, probably about 10:30 or 11 o'clock, he texted me, ‘Hey, why are we doing this here? Why are we blocking it like that? Isn't that his guy to block?' He's hungry for knowledge, and that's great because he becomes a coach on the field for us. Once he learns the system, he'll be a coach on the field."
The Bears have devised an intricate developmental plan for their new franchise quarterback. General manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus know they struck gold with Williams, and they intend to do everything possible to ensure his success.
Williams' preparation started even before he set foot in Halas Hall. He and his personal quarterback coach, Will Hewlett, requested the Bears provide them with footwork and cadences to work on in the weeks leading up to the draft. This early preparation paid off as the Bears' comprehensive developmental plan for Williams kicked off this weekend.
"Will did a great job prepping him for what we're doing now," Joseph said. "Coming into this minicamp, he was light years ahead of the information he already had."
While there's not much to draw from a two-day minicamp primarily involving rookie tryouts, Williams' attention to detail was evident. He was accurate and precise in both practices, missing a few throws and encountering some drops, but each time a rep was unsuccessful, Williams would connect with the intended receiver, discuss the rep, and ask to run it again to perfect it.
This meticulous approach is part of Williams' DNA. He's a perfectionist who wants to set a high standard for the organization. He aims to be a resource for his fellow rookies as they lay the foundation for a 2024 season filled with high expectations.
"Teaching others is big for me because it's another way for me to learn," Williams said Friday. "It shows you how much you know. Being around the guys, enjoying our time together, getting on the field, executing, and staying even-keeled throughout is important. I don't like making mistakes, and I know others feel the same way. Staying calm and collected helps everyone on the field."
The Bears have a phased approach for developing Williams. Step One occurs during the offseason program, followed by Step Two during the summer break, with the next phase beginning during training camp.
Joseph and passing game coordinator Thomas Brown will handle the daily details with Williams, while offensive coordinator Shane Waldron provides a broader perspective, tailoring the Bears' offense to Williams' strengths.
"For me, it's about understanding the big picture of the game and the intricacies between college and the NFL," Waldron said Saturday. "We're building his knowledge from the ground up, and everyone on the offensive staff has strengths to contribute. It's a collaborative effort."
The Bears have also bolstered their offensive arsenal, trading for wide receiver Keenan Allen, drafting wide receiver Rome Odunze, signing tight end Gerald Everett, running back D'Andre Swift, and enhancing the offensive line with Ryan Bates and Coleman Shelton.
With a solid infrastructure, Brown will work behind the scenes while Joseph focuses on fine-tuning Williams' fundamentals. The Bears believe there's little to clean up but want to ensure Williams maintains consistency while preserving his playmaking abilities.
"Coaching is about communication, relationships, and partnership," Joseph said. "It's about working through things together and finding what fits Caleb. Each quarterback is different."
Williams' offseason work will also focus on perfecting cadence and operating an NFL offense with top-level efficiency. Thanks to his head start with Hewlett, Williams smoothly navigated his developmental introduction this weekend.
"Leading the guys, functioning in the huddle, calling plays, and understanding field spacing are our goals for him at minicamp," Joseph said. "He's done a great job with that."
After practice, Williams stayed to throw routes with his friend and undrafted rookie tryout, John Jackson. Undrafted quarterback Austin Reed, who trained with Williams pre-draft, respects Williams' relentless work ethic, driven by a desire to maximize his talents.
"Everyone knows he's a generational prospect, and he's determined to earn that title," Reed said. "He carries himself with that understanding."
Williams' presence is already making a significant impact on the Bears' organization. The team's decision-makers believe his energy will be transformational both on and off the field.
"His light comes from within," Eberflus said. "He's a 1-plus-1-equals-3 guy. He enhances everything around him."
The Caleb Williams developmental plan successfully launched this weekend at Halas Hall. There's a lot of work to be done before Week 1, but the Bears are confident their methodical approach will set Williams and the team up for success from the start.
«I think it's about steady improvement," Brown said of his offseason benchmarks for Williams. "We're taking it one day at a time.»
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MAY 18   |   81 ANSWERS
'Light years ahead': Bears love Caleb Williams' development plan

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