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Caleb Williams receives first rave reviews from Bears coaches and teammates – NBC Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Caleb Williams’ first weekend on an NFL practice field went as planned. The Bears’ rookie quarterback was crisp and accurate during a rookie minicamp filled with players who were mostly in Lake Forest on a tryout basis.

Although Williams’ arm talent was evident even in warmups, it was his aura, work ethic and wiring that left an initial impression on his coaches and teammates.

“He’s one of those guys that wants to know why,” quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph said after the two-day camp ended. “You put something on, you play, you talk about it, you give him the progressions, whether it’s a run or a pass, like he wants to know why. Last night, probably around 10:30 or 11 p.m., he sends me a text: “Hey, why are we doing this here? Why are we blocking it like this? Isn’t it his job to block?” He just wants to know. He wants to know these answers.

“So when you have a guy like that, he’s hungry for it and you like knowing it because now he becomes your coach on the field. Once he gets it and learns this whole system, he will become a field coach now.”

For offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, Williams’ demeanor and leadership stood out during the pre-draft process and continued to do so during his first weeks as a Bear.

Waldron knows Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, has a long list of “SportsCenter” highlights. But it was Williams’ resilience in a season-ending loss to UCLA that showed Waldron what his young quarterback was made of.

“I think the way he finished the UCLA game in a way that he was going to stay competitive regardless of the outcome, he made some good throws, some moving throws to finish the game,” Waldron said of Williams. . “For me, you see the competitor, the championship mindset where he’s going to be at his best no matter the situation around him and keep playing. Seeing that. Because everyone is good in the NFL. Every week you’re playing against great people on defense, great schemes, and so that ability, regardless of what’s going on with the outside noise or the situation in a game, to play each play as its own individual snap. He demonstrated that. It was a good time.”

As he has previously, head coach Matt Eberflus raved about Williams’ aura and early impact on the franchise.

“You can really tell he’s comfortable in his skin and being who he is,” Eberflus said. “His personality starts. His light comes out from within. You can definitely feel that energy. He’s a 1-plus-1-equals-3 guy. He’s an enhancer. He’s a guy who brings out the best of people. You can I definitely feel that in him within five minutes of meeting him.

Passing game coordinator Thomas Brown was part of the Carolina Panthers contingent that evaluated last year’s crop of quarterbacks and ultimately selected Bryce Young first overall. Brown’s conversations with people around the USC program revealed to him who Williams was, and that information has held true thus far during his time with the rookie quarterback.

“Hit the road and go to USC’s pro day, and it’s a little hard to say because everyone’s always on their best behavior, but when you put the guys on the sidelines and you ask the coaches, you ask the assistants around the building: How is he outside of the spotlight, everyone had the same thing to say about him,” said. Brown. “The connecting piece. Brings everyone together. But just the overall demeanor. He’s upbeat, super competitive, which I love. You have to have that competitive spirit. But he’s a grinder at the same time.”

Undrafted rookie quarterback Austin Reed worked out with Williams in Florida during the pre-draft process and got a good feel for what drives the future of the Bears franchise.

The word “rare” perhaps doesn’t do it justice.

“I think any intelligent person knows that this guy is considered a generational prospect and I don’t think he’s shy about saying that,” Reed said after the first day of camp. “I think he understands the work it’s going to take to become that instead of just thinking he already is. I kind of respect the fact that he carries himself that way and that he calls himself really: I’m going to make money from this label, instead of just thinking it’s that.”

Bears third-round pick Kiran Amegadjie also experienced Williams’ work ethic firsthand during their brief time as teammates.

“He’s already very present in the locker room,” Amegadjie said on Saturday. “He’s a good leader. He’s a hard-working person. He’s always the first one to arrive in the morning. When I get here, he’s always already here. So I think he’s going to be a great leader for us on this team.

As for Williams’ ability on the field, fellow first-round pick Rome Odunze summed up why the Bears tabbed the USC star as the face of the franchise.

“It’s really effortless for him,” Odunze said. “You know he can do a lot of things that older quarterbacks may find difficult, effortlessly. You know he continues to improve every time I see him and he’s very smooth. You know that he can throw the ball from any angle, body position, anywhere on the field, to any spot on the field so you always have to be ready every time he is in the field. rear, so it gives you the confidence that it will give it to you when you give it your best on the road.

Williams has a long way to go to achieve “immortality,” but he’s already showing why the Bears believe he’s different from those who came before him and those in his class.

The Bears have a clear plan to develop him and maximize his rare gifts. This plan was launched last weekend at Halas Hall.

Time will tell if this will help Williams reach the stratospheric heights many believe he is destined to reach.

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NBC Chicago

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