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Bears minicamp observations: Caleb Williams flashes touch, talent with surgical touchdown passes

Caleb Williams finished mandatory minicamp by showcasing his exceptional arm talent

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Thursday's final mandatory minicamp practice was a short one for Caleb Williams and the Bears.

But it was enough for the rookie quarterback to showcase his rare arm talent and the progress he's making adjusting to the speed of an elite defense.

During 7-on-7 work, Williams opened eyes with two surgical touchdown passes.

On the first, Williams dropped back and quickly surveyed the defense before ripping a laser to DJ Moore in the back of the end zone. Williams fit the ball into an insanely tight window, with Tyrique Stevenson offering tight coverage.

The next dime came a few plays later when Williams perfectly lofted a ball over the head of multiple defenders, including cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and right into the hands of a leaping Rome Odunze, who came down with both feet inbounds in the back corner of the end zone.

Williams has had rough patches during his early NFL education, but he's continuing to progress, and his rare ability continues to shine through against the Bears' defense.

"I thought from Day 1 he has definitely gotten better with it," linebacker T.J. Edwards said of Williams. "You definitely see some things that you don't really expect from a rookie to do. You know, he moved us a couple times with his eyes. The first day, it had me and Tremaine hot about it, but he's impressive for sure."

While Williams shined in the 7-on-7 period, the defense got the better of the offense during the lone 11-on-11 period in the red zone.

On the first play, the Bears' offense tried to bust out a double pass, but Keenan Allen's throwback to D'Andre Swift fell incomplete.

"Yeah, why not? Why not?" head coach Matt Eberlfus said about the trick play. "Let's go. We've got several of them."

Williams' next two passes -- one for tight end Gerald Everett and one for Allen -- fell incomplete.

After a throwaway and a quarterback draw, Williams' final pass of the period was ticketed for Allen in the back of the end zone. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds had underneath coverage and appeared to push Allen as the ball arrived. Allen could not come down with the pass and looked at Eberflus for a pass interference call. With no refs on-site Thursday, Eberflus neglected to throw a minicamp flag and gave the stop to the defense.

Defensive end DeMarcus Walker screamed, "Not even one touchdown!" as the defense retreated to their sideline.

Here are more notes from the final day of minicamp:

-- The Bears had a few notable absences Thursday.

Left tackle Braxton Jones and cornerback Kyler Gordon were not present. Eberflus said Gordon woke up with lower back tightness, and the Bears held him out for precautionary reasons.

Right guard Nate Davis, tight end Cole Kmet, and wide receiver Tyler Scott did not participate.

Rookie tackle Kiran Amegadjie continues to rehab from a quad injury suffered last season for Yale.

-- Odunze's professionalism and quick learning ability have been apparent to Eberflus and his staff over the past six weeks.

"Rome really impressed us in terms of his ability to grab concepts and really execute out there for sure," Eberflus said.

-- The Bears will hold a final OTA session next week, which will only be for the rookies. Veterans were dismissed after Thursday's practice to keep their bodies fresh, with an early training camp start date arriving due to the Hall of Fame game.

"It’s kind of like a quarterback school type of thing," Eberflus said. "We’re working with the rookie skill players that we have, and then Caleb will still be here, and the same thing on defense. It’s just about re-learning, re-installing and then really setting the game plan for the summer plan."

-- Williams, who does not have an NFLPA-certified agent, remains unsigned but isn't worried about the contract situation working itself out.

“I’m not handling that," Williams said. "I’ve been focused on these past three days of minicamp, the OTAs before that and rookie camp before that. I haven’t been focused on that. [General manager Ryan Poles] and my team has been focused on that. I have lawyers and attorneys to handle things like that so I can be free-minded on the field, enjoying coming into work every day and working my tail off.”

-- The Bears announced they will hold one joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals on Aug. 15. The Bears and Bengals play a preseason game at Soldier Field on Aug. 17.

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