Caleb Williams

How Matt Eberflus has already seen ‘progress' from Caleb Williams early in Bears OTAs

Caleb Williams is learning from early struggles against the Bears' ascending defense

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Caleb Williams took the field against an NFL defense for the first time in his career this week as the Bears opened Organized Team Activities (OTAs) at Halas Hall.

The defense owned the day Thursday, dominating Williams and an offense without Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze in red zone work.

The Bears have an ascending defense that believes it will be the NFL's best this fall. Having Williams operate against that unit every day should help mold the Bears' rookie quarterback into the signal-caller they need when the bullets start flying.

While Williams struggled Thursday, Eberflus has been pleased with the growth he has seen from the No. 1 overall pick during the first week of OTAs.

"I see progress," Eberflus said Thursday of Williams. "I see progress for sure. It’s going to continue to be that way. He’s been in early, stays late, asking questions at night — he’s got his iPad at night in the hotel and has been working his tail off."

Where has Eberflus seen the progression early on? In the places that will eventually lead to on-field growth.

"Understanding the offense," Eberflus said. "Understanding the concepts. Understanding coverages. Understanding where to go with the ball. He’s been great that way."

The Bears' defense is expected to be way ahead of the offense at this stage of the offseason program.

For Williams, OTAs and mandatory minicamp are about digesting and putting information into action.

"Specifically with Caleb, it’s really just about when he can rip the call, get the call in and out of the huddle, breaking the huddle, having that pace that we need to have," Eberflus said. "We’ve been doing the walk-throughs and he’s been really good with that. This is the first time going against a pro defense, and a pretty good one. It’s going to be learning for everybody. They’re getting everything together. It was progress. I saw progress from the first day to the second, the second to the third. So it’s good."

Eberflus, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, and the rest of the offensive staff have no plans to put any training wheels on Williams this offseason. They are going to give him everything he can handle heading into summer break.

"It’s been very impressive. It’s been very impressive. His ability to chunk information, put it into buckets and operate," Eberflus said of Williams. "We’re not holding back. We’re giving him a lot of information. We’re giving him the offense and you want to be able to go through the whole offense before the off-season gets done, primarily most of it, and work it into the summer. We’ll have a plan for him there and work him into training camp and then go from there."

The Bears will host a second week of OTAs before holding mandatory veteran minicamp on June 4-6. They will hold a third and final week of OTAs in mid-June before breaking for the summer.

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