Bears News: Williams on following vets:

Bears News: Williams on following vets: "I’m listening, having both ears open and my mouth shut"

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - The Chicago Bears have, hopefully, found their franchise quarterback in Caleb Williams. The hype surrounding him is palpable. While he has yet to start in an NFL game or throw a single pass, there are already high expectations for him. Now that he is officially a Chicago Bear, his Chicago journey starts with rookie minicamp.

While the Bears only drafted five players, they have numerous undrafted free agent signees and players trying out who are present at rookie minicamp. One such player is Williams’ best friend, wide receiver John Jackson. Jackson did not have many opportunities at USC and transferred to the University of Nevada in his final collegiate season, where he had 35 receptions for 267 yards; he never scored a touchdown in a collegiate game.

Nonetheless, he is getting the chance to play in the NFL, and Williams is helping him to realize this dream.

“I’m excited for him at this opportunity. We’ve been working hard, trying to dig into the playbook and things like that because he’s in a situation to where he wasn’t necessarily undrafted and things like that,” Williams said. “He’s coming in here, trying out like all the other guys and myself, and so, just getting in here, working hard, getting after it, trying to give himself and myself the best advantage, and having a connection like that always helps.”

Another receiver showing what he can do in rookie minicamp is No. 9 overall pick Rome Odunze, who had 13 touchdown receptions last season. Williams and Odunze threw together prior to the NFL Draft and were on the same plane going to the draft, so they have already started to develop some chemistry off the field.

Williams is impressed with Odunze's offensive ability based on what he has seen of him so far on the field.

“You obviously see why he had … 1,500+ and a bunch of catches, and so, he’s explosive for his size, explosive route runner, things like that,” Williams said. “He’s also really smooth in and out of routes and transitions. So, working with him, it’s been great. It’s been awesome. I’m excited for what’s next.”

The offensive coaches previous Chicago quarterbacks had to work with did them a disservice. Last season showed the incompetence of former offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and with the Bears drafting their quarterback of the future, they could not afford to make the same mistake when hiring a new offensive coordinator.

In Shane Waldron, however, they hired an experienced coordinator whose offensive scheme only serves to benefit Williams, Odunze, and the rest of the offense.

“Having someone like Shane that’s been in different positions with different QBs at different learning stages and things like that, it only helps me, and so him being in the position that he’s in and being in this offense for so long, obviously, it’s going to help me, and it’s a learning process for me,” Williams said. “So, I have to put in the work but also know that I have someone and a support team and staff around me to help me and keep growing throughout the process.”

The quarterback is always the leader of the team. The biggest question mark with Williams was his leadership ability. However, since coming to Chicago, that does not seem to be a question mark at all. He communicated with all of the players the Bears drafted, sending the text to punter Tory Taylor that he would not be punting much, and has made a purposeful effort to bond with players outside of football as well.

Leadership is incredibly important to him, but he also recognizes that following his coaches and becoming a teacher to his fellow teammates will be highly influential in his development.

“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 see those and just being around the guys, enjoying the time together, getting on the field, executing, and being even killed throughout the whole thing because I know I’m going to 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. So, being in that position and being even killed and being controlled, cool, calm, collected not only helps me but also all the other guys on the field,” Williams said. “To be a great leader, you have to learn how to follow first.

"Right now, I’m following all the vets. I’m following all the coaches. I’m listening, having both ears open and my mouth shut and just kind of sitting back listening, and when I get to the point of when I learn everything when I learn the ways of how we do with the culture, the playbook, what the offensive line, wide receivers are all doing, running backs and tight ends and things like that, then you can start taking the lead. You can start taking the helm of all of it and take the next steps. For right now, though, I’m listening more than I’m speaking and talking, and I’m taking it one step at a time, being in the moment.”

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