Bears News: Eberflus breaks down mandatory minicamp, Williams’ progress

Bears News: Eberflus breaks down mandatory minicamp, Williams’ progress

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - The Chicago Bears finished their three-day mandatory minicamp on Thurs. June 6 offering more of a glimpse into the progression of rookie quarterback Caleb Williams and the rest of Chicago’s offense.

“It’s about the basics … Formation, motion. If it’s a pass play, are we getting the protections right? Are we able to change the protection based on the defense’s look and then the play concept from all the way through the gambit of movement passes to quick pass to drop back to screen game to everything that everybody has,” Bears’ head coach Matt Eberflus said. “So, it’s just going through that process and you’ll see that time on task, it will get better and better. We saw that. We saw Caleb improve. We saw the whole offense get better and better through the process.”

Eberflus is going into his third season as Chicago’s head coach. The first two seasons were rebuilding seasons with the first being incredibly disappointing, but with positive signs and improvement in the second half of last season with a 7-10 record.

Chicago’s rebuilding should be complete, although that rests on the shoulders of Williams who is expected to be the face of the franchise.

“Caleb is a talent, a very good talent, and his game will go to where it needs to be because I want him to see that in front of him, the windows closing, the variation of what we do on defense,” Eberflus said. “I want him to see that day in and day out so that when he gets to play somebody else, it’ll look okay.”

Part of the rebuilding was giving Williams ample weapons to throw to. While receiver DJ Moore and tight end Cole Kmet were with the team last season, receivers Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze, tight end Gerald Everett, and running back D’Andre Swift are all new to the offense.

Odunze was Chicago’s other top 10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and has impressed thus far during the organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

“Rome really impressed us in terms of his ability to grab conceptions and really execute out there for sure,” Eberflus said. “But again, there’s a lot of guys that impressed us.”

Defensively, free agent acquisition Kevin Byard impressed Eberflus and the rest of the coaching staff. Byard was brought in to replace Eddie Jackson at safety. Byard has eight seasons under his belt playing for the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles.

While he is often thought of for his ball-hawking skills as he has 10 interceptions over the past three seasons, his leadership has also proved highly valuable.

“He’s special. Just in terms of a leader, people respect him because of the man he is, and he’s been a devoted guy to this game for a long time, and you can really feel that. I mean, that’s palpable,” Eberflus said. “You can feel the love of the game that he has and he’s very respectful. He’s like a coach on the field and he’s got really good ball-hawking abilities. That’s why I like him a lot.”

On both sides of the ball, the Bears have been spending time outside of Halas Hall getting to know each other and building team chemistry. Williams, in particular, has been heavily involved in spending time with teammates while supporting other Chicago teams, including attending a Chicago White Sox game, Chicago Cubs game, and Chicago Sky preseason game. Chemistry is always something that Eberflus has valued because chemistry off the field also translates to on the field.

“It’s more about being together. It’s about hanging out outside the building, getting to know somebody on a personal level (rather than) just, ‘Hey, you play this position. You’re part of our team,’” Eberflus said. “So, that’s ongoing. It’s got to be worked at. You want to be good at something, relationships is something you want to be good at, you got to work at it.”

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