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Caleb Williams bolstered by supportive, encouraging environment


Through Caleb Williams' first six weeks of being the Bears quarterback, he has received an endless amount of support from his new teammates and coaches, making for a smooth transition from No. 1 draft prospect to a leader on offense.

After spending a week at veteran minicamp with the entire team in attendance, Williams attributes the supportive atmosphere inside Halas Hall to the various pieces the front office put in place ahead of him coming to Chicago.

"We've got people like Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, D'Andre Swift, the offensive line," Williams said. "That's been the biggest part for me, the teammates. Obviously when we get out there, the ebbs and flows of practice and things like that, this whole thing, this whole process is just starting for me. Being the Bears QB is obviously good for me. Them being graceful and encouraging has been huge for me. That's what I'd say has probably been the biggest thing for me."

Williams has felt his teammates' support through texts and phone calls when the team is away from the facility and through words of encouragement and advice on the practice field.

Leaning on the people around Halas Hall has given Williams a sense of comfort while he finds his footing in the NFL. It's also built a foundation of trust that allows him to push himself in terms of improvement and growth.

During OTA and minicamp practices, Williams was often seen talking with coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron or one of his teammates following each team period. Breaking down a series or play and understanding what went right or wrong allows Williams to measure his own progress throughout the offseason program.

"First, I ask questions," Williams said. "I ask questions to coach. I ask about my progression, I ask where he wants me to be, where I should be, and then obviously I have my own goal set for myself and that's to be perfect. Obviously, you strive for something like that, and you don't ever reach it, but you keep striving for it.

"Whether it's a day that I like or a day that I don't, there's always good and bad in it, so just finding my balance and reaching and striving for my goal. And a big part of it is just sticking to the routine, enjoying the process, enjoying my teammates, being a good teammate, going out there and working my tail off."

"I sit there and I say, ‘We’re going to be pretty damn good.’ So just gotta keep working, keep going and we’re all excited." Caleb Williams

Step onto the Halas Hall fields with the Bears during their three veteran minicamp practices.

Everyone on the field, from Eberflus to Waldron to leaders like linebacker T.J. Edwards and Jaquan Brisker, has noticed Williams' growth on the field and in the locker room.

While the defense hasn't let up on the rookie quarterback, the toughness and energy they bring every day is a tool to help prepare Williams for his first NFL season.

"You can tell that he has something in his notebook every single day," Brisker said. "He's really focused and locked in on his tools and his technique. He doesn't let the outside noise affect him, which is good. He comes in every day and works very hard. You can tell he's going through his progressions and things like that. He's going through the right reads. Every single day it's going quicker so he's catching up. But also we are always going to give him different looks and things like that. That's what we are going to do with every quarterback and we are going to make it tough … I feel like he's doing a great job though."

In the short amount of time spent with Williams, Edwards can recognize his pure talent from the pocket as well as his natural leadership ability.

"Just observing kind of how he carries himself, you can tell he's confident in what he's doing, and as a defender you want that guy to be confident," Edwards said. "That guy, especially, he's leading your team. He's our quarterback and we're behind him. He's handled everything so well. I think he's himself. That's kind of what you want, to be honest with you. You want every single guy just to be themselves, but also respect the standard of what we're trying to do with things here."

With just one week left of the offseason program for the rookies, Williams can begin to evaluate himself and the team before a month-long break ahead of the start of training camp.

While he has endured the challenges of being a rookie quarterback such as learning the cadence, acclimating to a new roster and understanding the playbook, he has also displayed what made him the No. 1 pick — accuracy, arm strength, perseverance and leadership.

During the Bears' final veteran minicamp practice Thursday, Williams showed those traits in 7-on-7 drills when he completed a touchdown pass through a tight window to Moore then hit receiver Rome Odunze for a score on a perfectly placed ball to the corner of the end zone.

As Williams has begun to build chemistry with each player on offense, he can clearly see the vision for the Bears this season. While he often finds himself thinking about what the group is capable of, the rookie has also tried to keep a level head and allow everything to fall into place naturally.

"It's pretty awesome," Williams said. "I feel like there's a light at the end of that tunnel. Right now, we're working with our head down and we're building. So just having that moment with myself, I do it every day. I sit there and I say, 'We're going to be pretty damn good.' So just gotta keep working, keep going and we're all excited. It's really important to have that mindset, but also have the mindset of 'Let's keep going, let's keep working, let's get after it.'"