Veteran Bears Support QB Williams After Challenging Practice

Vince Carbonneau
May 23, 2024  (7:23 PM)

Caleb Williams in practice
Photo credit: NBC Sports Chicago

Bears Veterans Encourage Rookie QB Williams

The Chicago Bears experienced a mix of highs and lows during their third OTA practice, concluding with an encouraging moment for rookie quarterback Caleb Williams.
Veteran safety Kevin Byard, who recently joined the Bears as a free agent, took the opportunity to speak with Williams after a challenging red zone session. Byard, with nine years of NFL experience, provided some constructive feedback following Williams' inconsistent performance.
"I told him, 'Keep it going. We're going to keep making you better,'" Byard shared. "It's not that he had a terrible day, but it's days like this that help you improve."
The Bears' defense, familiar with their system since 2022, outperformed the offense, which is still adjusting to new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron's scheme.
"We had a solid day," Byard admitted. "But that's expected when you have a seasoned top-15, top-10 defense facing a rookie quarterback who's still learning. This is part of the process."
Wide receiver DJ Moore acknowledged the anticipated "growing pains" for both Williams, the first overall draft pick, and the Bears' offense. Williams struggled with timing and decision-making during 11-on-11 drills, leading to incomplete passes and potential sacks, which caused some frustration.
"It's tough, but we know we're learning a new system," Moore said, emphasizing the importance of patience and encouragement for Williams.
Byard also recalled the offense performing well earlier in the week, highlighting Williams' impressive throws. He stressed that consistency is key and every practice is a step towards improvement.
"Not every week will be great," Byard said. "Some days he'll need to lead a game-winning drive, other days we'll dominate. It's all part of the journey. I told him to keep fighting, watch the film, and get better. It's for everyone on the team. Things won't always be perfect, but his confidence is reassuring."
Coach Matt Eberflus echoed these sentiments, noting Williams' progress over the week against a formidable defense.
"This is his first time facing a professional defense, and he's learning," Eberflus said. "I've seen progress each day. It's a positive sign."
Eberflus praised Williams' ability to absorb and apply feedback from the coaching staff. The plan is to fully immerse him in the offense rather than easing him in gradually.
"We're not holding back," Eberflus stated. "We're giving him all the information he needs. Our goal is to cover most of the offense before the offseason ends and build on it over the summer."
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MAY 23   |   31 ANSWERS
Veteran Bears Support QB Williams After Challenging Practice

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