Matt Eberflus Sends 5-Word Message on Caleb Williams’ Status

Matt Eberflus Caleb Williams Bears Starting Quarterback Bears Minicamp Chicago Bears News

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus left no question about Caleb Williams' status as their starting quarterback.

The Chicago Bears are leaving nothing uncertain about the status of rookie Caleb Williams heading into the 2024 season: He is their starting quarterback.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus met with reporters on May 10’s first day of rookie minicamp, spending a good portion of his 10-minute press conference talking about Williams and how the team is preparing their No. 1 overall pick for his NFL debut.

Naturally, Eberflus got a question about whether there had been any conversations yet with Williams about the starter job and potentially having to compete for the title.

“No conversation, he’s the starter,” Eberflus told reporters Friday.

While Eberflus’ answer may seem obvious, the Bears have been reluctant to throw their rookie quarterbacks into the fire on Day 1. Previous general manager Ryan Pace and his regime started veteran Mike Glennon over No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky for the first four games of the 2017 season. Four years later in 2021, they tabbed Andy Dalton as their Day 1 starter over Justin Fields — whom they had traded up to get at No. 11.

The Bears made no secrets about their intentions this time around, though. The team did not even sign a true veteran backup to compete with Williams in his rookie season, instead choosing to continue on with 2023 undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent as their No. 2. They also signed Brett Rypien and rookie Austin Reed to compete for the No. 3 spot.

Bears Consider Caleb Williams to be ‘An Enhancer’

After much anticipation, Williams finally had his first practice in his No. 18 Bears jersey on Friday. The Bears are only just beginning their on-field offseason work and did not put him through anything intensive, but he did put his arm strength and pass precision on display as he worked through his first throwing session at Halas Hall’s practice field.

Williams got a head start on getting acquainted with the Bears offense. He had been studying the playbook for weeks before the team formally drafted him at No. 1 overall on April 25. The Bears had introduced him to elements of their offense when they visited with him in Los Angeles ahead of his March 16 pro day at USC and continued with their installs when he visited Lake Forest in early April for his top-30 visit.

“You can really tell he’s comfortable in his own skin and he is who he is,” Eberflus said. “His light comes out from the inside. You can certainly feel that energy. He’s a one-plus-one-equals-three guy, so he’s an enhancer. He’s a guy that brings out the best in people. You can certainly feel that in him within five minutes of meeting him.”

Caleb Williams Has Former Pro QBs as New Coaches

The Bears also have a new support system in place for their rookie quarterback. Back in January, they hired away Shane Waldron from the Seattle Seahawks to replace Luke Getsy as their offensive coordinator. Waldron then brought with him Kerry Joseph from Seattle to be his quarterbacks coach and hired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran Ryan Griffin to be Joseph’s assistant quarterback coach for the 2024 season.

Between Joseph and Griffin, Williams will have a few decades of pro quarterback experience to lean on as he develops. Joseph only spent one season in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996, but he played in the CFL through the 2014 season, earning All-Star recognition in 2007. Griffin remained in the NFL for much longer (2013-2022), primarily as a third-string/practice-squad option. He threw just four career passes.

“I always think it’s important to have, especially at that position, guys that have played the position,” Eberflus said of Joseph and Griffin. “And I think you can always glean a lot of information from those guys through those experiences, either for where they were at, their own playing experience or who they were with. I think it’s always important to be able to have that at the quarterback position.”

Read More