Bears rookie minicamp – Caleb Williams’ accuracy, aura flash on Day 1 of NBC Sports Chicago

Lake Forest, Ill.

Williams and Odunze have already begun to develop their chemistry off campus, but the work that began Friday should accelerate the bond the Bears hope will be the backbone of a story-changing era.

“There’s definitely things you can build on in the relationship between me and him,” Odunze said of how valuable the two-day minicamp will be for him and Williams. A wide receiver and a quarterback, of course, we can go out and build chemistry over time. Where he can see. He likes to bowl depending on my lane speed and the different things I do there and that’s why we’re here today.

There isn’t much to practice against a defense made up of undrafted rookies hoping to prove their worth from short films in May and earn a training camp invite.

But Williams and Odunze looked on Friday at Halas Hall. Williams was timely and accurate with nearly every pass during the 7-on-7 portion of the day. That includes the eight completions Odunze made as he circled the field on Day 1 of rookie minicamp.

Even the impeccable representatives acted in favor of the new couple.

At one point during a 7-on-7 period, Odunze got caught out of his break, forcing Williams to buy time out of the pocket before hitting the sideline for an 18-20 yard gain. While off-script playmaking from Williams and ad-libbing from Oduns shouldn’t feature in 7-on-7 work on Sundays, the Bears can watch it.

The two Bears rookies chatted briefly after the rep about the route and timing, before returning to precision work following Williams.

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On the day, Williams had just three completions. Brendan Bates is a drop in the flat first. The second was a ball thrown in front of Peter LeBlanc. The final completion was the result of a nice play by cornerback Leon Jones, who broke quickly to the left.

Williams yelled “Bear down!” Finishing practice, Halas threw to undrafted rookie wide receiver John Jackson for a tryout and went to work.

Austin Reed trained with Williams in the offseason and saw firsthand the No. 1 pick’s work to realize his star potential.

“I think anybody with a brain knows this dude is being touted as a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I don’t think he’s walking away from that,” Reid said. “I think he understands what he’s going to do instead of thinking he’s already that. I respect that he carries himself that way and that’s what he really is: I’m going to earn that tag instead of thinking he’s the one.”

Williams’ arrival is expected to turn things around for a franchise that has spent four decades wandering the quarterback desert.

It was a visit that had already begun to leave a mark on the building.

“His personality kicks in [it],” Eberfluss said of Williams’ light. “His light comes from within. You can definitely feel that energy. He’s a 1-plus-1-equals-3 guy. He is a developer. He’s a guy who brings out the best in people. You can definitely feel it within five minutes of meeting him.”

The Caleb Williams era began in earnest Friday at Halas Hall. The Bears’ rookie quarterback didn’t do anything eye-opening. There are no highlight throws or “wow” moments. Why would there be?

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There was accuracy and precision, and Caleb Williams is taking the first steps on his NFL journey — one he hopes will lead him down a path of “immortality.”

But that is far from it. While Williams has big visions, his focus is on the next small step.

“Obviously, you have goals that you set for yourself at this point, and you have goals that you set in the future,” Williams said. “So that’s important. But understanding the moment we’re in and being in the moment is more important. Taking it one step at a time, handling it the way it needs to be handled and being a professional, they all go together.”

Step 2 comes on Saturday.

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