Behind the first impressions Caleb Williams made at Halas Hall at rookie mini camp

Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph left an open invitation for Caleb Williams to text him.

If the rookie, first overall pick and now-starting quarterback had a question, text him. It was Joseph's job to coach the new face of the Bears' franchise up to speed.

"Last night, probably about 10:30, 11 o'clock, he texts me, ‘Hey, why are we doing this here?’" Joseph said Saturday. "Why are we blocking it like that?"

Williams wasn't questioning anything. Williams was being inquisitive. That's perfect for the Bears' coaching staff.

"He just wants to know," Joseph said. "You love to know that because now he becomes a coach on the field once he gets it and he learns the whole system."

Williams participated in his first weekend in a Bears uniform on Friday and Saturday. Bears rookie camp, which featured draftees, undrafted free agents, rookie tryout players and veteran tryout players.

The first impression Williams left in his two days at Halas Hall was impressive to the coaches overseeing him. 

Much of what impressed the coaches was where Williams currently is in terms of his understanding of the Bears' offense and where Williams is in terms of his physical skills.

"For me to see where he’s at now is impressive," Joseph said. "To see his physical traits is unbelievable."

Williams showcased the reasons why he was the No. 1 overall pick. 

During seven-on-seven drills, he made the plays he needed to and he went off script to dazzle with pinpoint throws between multiple defenders.

That ability jumped off the page with the Bears from their first  

"Arm talent and his ability to put the ball where it needs to be," Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said. "That was evident from day one."

LAKE FOREST, ILLINOIS - MAY 11: Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears watches as Caleb Williams #18 throws a passing drill during Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp at Halas Hall on May 11, 2024 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/G

Williams' time at rookie camp showed the team where he was, but it also showed areas where he could focus on over the course of the offseason.

One aspect was Williams' comfort level in playing in different alignments.

In college, Williams did not line up under center often. Lincoln Riley's offenses at Oklahoma and USC operated out of the shot gun. Williams, at the NFL level, will need to operate from under center much more.

That's one of the biggest things the coaching staff alluded to Saturday.

"I think the biggest thing will be just the footwork and really mastering that first step from under center, something that he's taken pride in already," Waldron said. "He's played the position his whole life just like these other guys have. I think there's a good natural transition and it wasn't something where they were starting from total scratch right here."

That ability to accept the coaching being given is also something that isn't lost on the Bears' coaching staff.

"Just with our interactions so far, his ability and desire to accept coaching and keep learning, keep listening, has been excellent," Waldron said.

Williams' leadership abilities are shining, too.

Third-round draft pick and Hinsdale native Kiran Amegadjie has grown up a life-long Bears fan, and now gets a chance to work with Williams as a fellow rookie.

"He's a big presence in the locker room already," Amegadjie said. "He's a good leader, he's a person that works hard."

Williams might not know the offense thoroughly just yet, but he's been setting an example for the other rookies when it comes his work ethic.

"He's always the first one," Amegadjie said. "He's always in here already."

That work is in preparation for being the Bears first rookie Week 1 starting quarterback in nearly 20 years.

Williams doesn't feel that pressure or see that as pressure. Especially where there's still three months until training camp and four months until the first week of the regular season.

That time frame doesn't mean Williams will waste any time making sure he's as prepared as possible for the highest level of football he's been preparing for all his life.

"If it's on his mind, he wants to know now," Joseph said. "He just wants the answer. So he's preparing and studying. That's one thing he's doing."


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