Saturday, May 25, 2024

An Unlikely Name Has Stepped Up To Help Mentor Caleb Williams


One of the biggest concerns about Caleb Williams, once he joined the Chicago Bears, was the lack of a mentor figure he could learn from. C.J. Stroud had Case Keenum in Houston. Justin Herbert had Tyrod Taylor. Patrick Mahomes had Alex Smith. History says young quarterbacks who succeed early tended to have veterans they could learn from in the same room. The Bears haven’t taken that approach with Williams. Nobody would classify Brett Rypien as a viable mentor type. This puts a lot of pressure on the coaching staff to feed him the necessary information on what to expect at the NFL level.

Here’s the thing, though. Nobody ever said the rule was quarterbacks could only be tutored by other quarterbacks. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. It depends on if they’re willing to assume such a role. Williams can lean on guys like D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen for help. However, it appears another name has been more proactive in his efforts to help the quarterback get acclimated to the NFL level. That is new safety Kevin Byard. He made sure to prop up Williams after a rough practice on Thursday.

“Make it as hard on him as possible,” Byard said about the defense’s goal. “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 gonna be.

“I said something to him at the end of practice: Keep going, we’re gonna keep making you better. Not necessarily saying that he had a terrible day, but like days like this are gonna make you better. So that’s our job.”

Caleb Williams is getting a great education on NFL defenses.

The Bears were one of the best in the league down the stretch of last season. They have talent at all three levels, especially in the secondary. Matt Eberflus is also one of the best play callers in the league. If you could pick a defense to practice against every day, you wouldn’t find many better. If Williams can get to a point where he’s executing well against them, he will be ready for anything other teams try throwing at him this season. There is definitely a precedence for such benefits.

Ben Roethlisberger went to the AFC championship in his first year. Pittsburgh had the #1 defense that season. Russell Wilson had a terrific rookie season in 2012. The Seahawks defense was #1 in the NFL that season. Dallas had the #5 defense in 2016 when Dak Prescott had his breakout rookie season. There are plenty of examples of young quarterbacks benefitting from spending the summer having to go against a great defense in practice. Caleb Williams has more than enough ability to meet the challenge. Byard wants to make sure he also has the mental fortitude.

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May 25, 2024 5:38 am

You have to beat the best to be the best.

May 24, 2024 3:41 pm

I was hoping for Buford Pusser.

Dr. Melhus
May 24, 2024 2:50 pm

I was half-hoping that they would have shown a picture of Mr. T mentoring Caleb. That would have been righteously funny.

P.S. – Totally gunning for the jmscooby stamp of approval with this post.

Sam Clemens
Sam Clemens
May 24, 2024 2:43 pm

This is a good thing. CW needs to struggle and the defense needs to keep the kid gloves off in order for him to improve. No one else in the league is going to make it easy on him and success is never guaranteed, regardless of what some “experts” have *told ya*.

Dr. Steven Sallie
Dr. Steven Sallie
May 24, 2024 2:33 pm

Unlike others here, I continue to prefer to strictly stick within the parameters of football. The Bears’ defense does have an informal responsibility to prepare Caleb for NFL defenses. That would be smart football practice. The same should go with regard to Kiran and Toby too. But don’t dare mess w/Odunze risking an injury–otherwise, “yer mama m-f”!

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