Just getting started: Williams finding his way around Chicago area, Halas Hall

Caleb Williams is settling in just fine.

Whether he’s sitting courtside at a Chicago Sky game, watching the Cubs from a suite at Wrigley Field, or doing some shopping at Target, the Bears’ new quarterback is feeling right at home.

“When you have a little free time, you want to find balance within all of this,” said Williams, who has had a whirlwind two weeks since becoming the No. 1 overall draft pick. “That’s really important.”

Earlier this week, Williams made an appearance at the Sky’s preseason game at Wintrust Arena. He watched the game with rookie receiver Rome Odunze and veteran Keenan Allen. Williams was excited to root for fellow Washington D.C.-area native Angel Reese, whom the Sky selected in the first round of the WNBA draft last month.

Bears fans also spotted Williams getting some shopping done at a local Target. The rookie QB is still new in town and is adjusting to his new home.

“All the small things that I needed,” Williams said when asked about his Target trip. “And I just thought it was a funny picture, the way I was walking.”

Williams should be feeling at home. Coach Matt Eberflus already declared him the starting quarterback moving forward — which came as a surprise to no one.

“No conversation,” Eberflus said. “He’s the starter.”

On Friday, Williams kicked off his first practice as a member of the Bears when rookie minicamp began at Halas Hall in Lake Forest. The rookies took the field looking to get to know the team’s playbook and show what they can do. The Bears selected five rookies last month in the NFL draft. They also signed nine undrafted free agents and invited 24 additional undrafted rookies in for tryouts.

Rookie minicamp is all about the basics. The Bears want Williams to work on his command of the offense, barking out play calls and perfecting his footwork. At this point the playbook is bare bones, but building more and more each day with an eye toward training camp.

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus watches players during the NFL football team's rookie camp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP

Eberflus said with any rookie quarterback it starts with building a foundational understanding of the offense.

“I think that’s important,” Eberflus said. “I think Shane [Waldron] and the offensive staff have done an outstanding job of that thus far putting that foundation in and making sure that it’s likable, learnable and it can get executed. And we’re excited about beginning that process.”

Waldron, the new offensive coordinator, will be tasked with leading the offense in 2024. Williams said he began diving into the playbook following his top 30 visit with the Bears in April, before the draft. At that point everybody had a pretty good sense that Williams would wind up in Chicago.

“You always want to get ahead, if you can,” Williams said.

For Williams, the real fun will start later this month with OTAs, when he can begin practicing on the field with his veteran teammates too. That’s when the Bears will get their first look at the wide receiver trio of Odunze, Allen, and DJ Moore on the field at the same time.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Rome Odunze catches a ball during the NFL football team's rookie camp at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) AP

Odunze and Williams have already begun their work together. They’ve been studying the playbook and getting some 1-on-1 work in on the field.

Odunze, who was the No. 9 overall draft pick, said it’s “hard to imagine a better situation” for his rookie season. He and Williams can learn and go through this process together.

“He’s very talented,” Odunze said. “It’s really effortless for him. He can do a lot of things that other quarterbacks may think is hard effortlessly.”

The two have also been spending lots of time off the field together, such as at the Sky game.

“Hopefully, in their respective sports, hopefully, me and all the rookies in our respective sports can continue to have the city back us, continue to have that success,” Odunze said. “You know, the sky’s the limit.”

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.