Caleb Williams off to rough start in Chicago Bears practice

Caleb Williams, Chicago Bears
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

While the names may have changed, Caleb Williams is living up to expectations as a Chicago Bears quarterback. But not the lofty draft expectations bestowed upon the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, the former USC star is experiencing growing pains while trying to prove himself as an NFL athlete.

Of course, it’s way too early to take these reports seriously enough to cause concern, but so far, the early returns suggest the former Heisman Trophy winner could struggle in his first season.

Caleb Williams’ struggles include getting Chicago Bears offense set

According to The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg, Williams has had trouble with pressure, finding open receivers, and even getting set before the play clock expires.

“When we watched the red zone drills, Williams was constantly under pressure while his receivers (which didn’t include Rome Odunze or Keenan Allen) tried to get open. There were a few just-missed interceptions. Sometimes, Williams couldn’t even get passes off as the secondary used its space advantage in the red zone to shut down receivers. We saw a lot of screen passes, many of which turned into scores. Occasionally, the offense struggled to line up or get a play off.”

The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg on Caleb Williams’ struggles in Bears practice

After practice, Bears receiver DJ Moore admitted to feeling some frustration, knowing that Chicago’s defense is so far ahead of the offense, which is normal this time of year.

“It’s frustrating, but we also know that we’re learning a new system. They’ve been in that system for what, like three years right now? And then they don’t make it no better that they’re out there having fun with it, and we’re just frustrated because we’re not accomplishing what we want to. But on the flip side, we know that we’re still learning and coming together as an offense.”

Chicago Bears receiver DJ Moore on offensive struggles

The good news is, Williams is receiving all the first-team reps, which should give him a head start once the regular season comes around.

Meanwhile, Bears safety Kevin Byard says Williams’ struggles are practically by design, to help prepare the young QB for a successful future.

“Make it as hard on him as possible. Going out there showing some swag, talking trash, doing all that stuff because at the end of the day he’s going to have to lead us there. That’s kind of how it’s going to be. I said something to him at the end of practice: Keep going, we’re going to keep making you better. Not necessarily saying that he had a terrible day, but, like, days like this are going to make you better. So that’s our job and like I said, obviously, just the first three days of practice he’s done a lot of positive things. He’s made some really great throws. Just coming in with that swag as a rookie quarterback, he doesn’t seem flustered by anything, so that’s exciting to see.”

Bears safety Kevin Byard on making life difficult for Caleb Williams

Related: See where Caleb Williams lands in Sportsnaut’s NFL QB Rankings

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