Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams' pre-training camp prep will be vital to QB, Bears' hopes in 2024

Caleb Williams has a detailed plan for his summer break

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Caleb Williams checked every box in the first phase of the Bears' detailed quarterback development plan.

Williams spent OTAs and mandatory minicamp immersing himself in the playbook, forming a connection with his teammates, and experimenting with his arm talent against a defense the Bears hope will be elite this fall.

With the final portion of OTAs ending Wednesday, Williams will now enter Phase 2 of the plan, which will ask him to focus on nailing down details that must be perfected by the time camp arrives.

"There is expectation there because that’s studying, that’s putting in the work even though it’s the downtime on that relentless pursuit of getting the edge and finding the edge," offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said Wednesday of his summer plan for Williams. "And for him finding that edge going into training camp being better than he was when he left here today without the benefit of practices will be so much focused on the studying, the watching tape, and then throwing and working on his fundamentals."

Williams' focus must be on continuing to download the playbook so that he arrives at camp with a good sense of how he can best operate the offense on game day.

The Bears know that a Week 1 date with the Tennessee Titans will be here before they know it.

"I think for him it’s about continuing to own the system, the operation," Waldron said. "With so many different things, you’re new to a system. ... There’s a lot of similarities in so many different offensive systems, but they’re not all exactly the same. The ownership of what every word means, with the goal being when we come to training camp and I say a certain term that clicks in right now in Caleb’s brain, he knows exactly what we’re talking about. We’re on the same page.

"Because the further goal is game day when everything’s happening, it might be just a simple reminder in the headset. It might be something at halftime, like those things all happen so quickly, like that brevity code that we train ourselves with and getting on the same page of what certain terms are gonna mean, that’s a really important part of the offseason, so then now when he comes in to start training camp he’s not thinking about any of those — those are second nature, and he’s reacting the right way when he hears a certain message there."

Williams said he plans to meet with members of the Bears' offense and defense during the four-week break to work on their craft and continue to bond ahead of a season with big expectations.

The Bears rookie quarterback is intentional about connecting with his teammates. Williams said he recently watched a mic'd up video of the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl win. He noted how quarterback Matthew Stafford treated all of his teammates and the connection they had that clearly helped lead to a championship.

That connective tissue is something Williams is already putting a lot of time into forming.

"Everything's about the bond and the trust that you build between each other because then you go out there and you play with a different level of ... your mentality's different," Williams said Wednesday. "Everything's different when you're out there playing for each other and not out there playing for yourself. The connection to be able to build a bond between not just 11 on the field, but the next 11 that comes on the field, which is the defense, and then all the other guys, the 53, and everyone's treated with respect and love and care, but also pushing each other to be at our best. That's where the connection comes from because you can't build something pretty special at the end of the year without that bond, love, and trust for your brothers."

Williams already has a plan and schedule in place for how he wants to attack the offseason break. That will start with cleaning up his notebook so that he can be more efficient with his studying.

The No. 1 overall pick isn't one to unplug from football. He sets something to accomplish every day so that he stays on track. Getting behind isn't an option.

"You set a plan. You set a routine before it happens so that you’re not in the process trying to figure, oh, what’s going to happen?" Williams said. "When am I going to come back to work? What day am I going to start working? What day am I going to do this and that? You set all that in place, and then you stick to it. That’s the biggest thing for the offseason that I’ve gotten from the older guys is: set a plan, stick to it, and go from there.

"It’s just having that plan and sticking to it and feel confident and belief in your plan, in your schedule that you set and go with it. Because a lot of times, the biggest thing for quarterbacks is confidence and believing in the plan, whether it’s game day, offseason or whatever the case may be."

The Bears were pleased with Williams' work during OTAs and minicamp on the field, in the classroom, and outside of Halas Hall.

For Williams, that work is vital to lay the foundation for what he feels will be a long and prosperous relationship with a franchise that has already proven to him that they are a perfect fit for him.

Williams is methodical and detailed in everything he does. He sticks to the schedule. That has even transferred to the podium, where Williams ends each media session with a big smile and a quick vocal signature.

"Da Bears," Williams said.

With that, the Bears' franchise quarterback scooped up his playbook and headed out the door to begin a critical four-week stretch of his early development.

There's no time to waste.

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