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Bears OTA observations: Caleb Williams shows off precision, progress as offense shines

There was a lot of good for Caleb Williams on Friday, but clear work remains in several areas

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Friday's second open-media OTA practice at Halas Hall was a little different than last week's "bumpy" affair for Bears rookie quarterback Caleb Williams.

Facing a defense without four of his five starting secondary members (Jaylon Johnson, Jaquan Brisker, Kyler Gordon, and Kevin Byard), Williams and the offense engineered a game-winning drive in the first situational work of the offseason program.

The Bears' offense got the ball at their own 30-yard line, trailing by two with 1:30 left.

Williams was flushed from the pocket and forced to throw the ball on first down.

On second-and-10, Williams hung in the pocket and threw a strike to DJ Moore down the right sideline for a gain of 27.

With the clock down to 1:11, Williams threw the ball away on first down and evaded a "sack" to scramble for 7 yards on second down. (Editor's note: The rushers slowed up, allowing Williams to escape.)

On third-and-3 from the 36, Williams hit Moore on a quick slant to move the chains to the 26.

After getting a pass batted down at the line by Dashaun Mallory, Williams handed the ball off to Roschon Johnson for a gain of 4.

The Bears spiked the ball with four seconds remaining to bring out Cairo Santos for the game-winning field goal.

Williams' progress from last week to this week really shined in 7-on-7 work, where he went 13-for-14 with a defensive pass interference call. That included a deep touchdown strike to Moore and another beautifully layered throw to Moore between three defenders.

The Bears have been pleased with Williams's ability to digest information quickly, learn from his mistakes, and correct them.

“Just understanding the plays and how his feet are married to those plays, albeit if it’s just normal situations, if it’s play-action pass or in the red-zone when it quickens up a little bit," Eberflus said of things Williams needs to clean up. "I think he really improved on that this week, and you could see the ball coming out of his hand pretty live when his feet were right.”

Williams was accurate and precise. He threaded the ball into several small windows, showing excellent touch and feel.

Of course, this is another May practice in shorts without pads.

Even defensive backs coach Jon Hoke chuckled at the thought of a good day in 7-on-7 work in May.

"Seven-on-seven," Hoke said with a smile, laugh, and a joking eye roll. "OK, then."

Still, Williams' progress, albeit against a defense without key members of the secondary, is as much of a positive as you'd want on May 31.

Here are more notes from Friday's open OTA:

-- Williams and rookie Rome Odunze showed off their early chemistry, which included a couple of completions in 7-on-7 and a nice hook-up on a scramble drill during an 11-on-11 period. Williams rolled out of the pocket and threaded the needed to Odunze along the right sideline. Odunze got a half step on Tyrique Stevenson and was able to toe-tap both feet in bounds to complete the catch.

-- One of Williams' best passes was on a deep corner route to undrafted rookie John Jackson III. Williams dropped the ball in between two defenders for a big gain down the right sideline.

-- Williams' cadence and knowledge of the offense continue to be a work in progress.

Williams tried to draw the defense offsides on one rep but ended up causing guard Ja'Tyre Carter to false start. On another play, Williams turned to hand off to a running back who wasn't there and ended up throwing the ball away. Williams and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron spent some time discussing the broken play on the sideline after the period.

-- Defensive tackle Gervon Dexter showed some nice speed to get pressure on Williams during the 11-on-11 period, but Eberflus quickly noted that the pass rush is impossible to gauge without pads on.

"When you get the rush involved, a lot of times during this time of year, it's very hard to evaluate the protection, because there's no pads on," Eberflus said. "I know that the D-line coaches get all excited. I always tell them, 'Hey, let's wait until we get the pads on. It's very hard to block a guy with no pads.'"

-- Johnson, Gordon, Brisker, Byard, Keenan Allen, and Montez Sweat were absent Friday.

-- Nate Davis, DeMarcus Walker, and T.J. Edwards were present but did not participate.

-- Teven Jenkins only participated in individual work.

-- Coleman Shelton got work as the first-team center. Ryan Bates took the first-team reps at the last open OTA. Eberflus said that everything is a competition at this point in the offseason.

-- Jaylon Jones picked off Tyson Bagent during the second-team offense's attempt at a game-winning drive.

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