Saturday, April 20, 2024

NFL GM Fears Caleb Williams Isn’t Equipped To Play In Chicago


Talent is always the first thing people talk about with quarterbacks. You need a lot to thrive in the NFL. However, one thing that is so often overlooked when evaluating the position is location. Not every destination is created equal in the NFL. Some cities are far easier to play in than others. Chicago is a perfect example. This is the third largest city in the country and an unquestioned sports town. Fans here are passionate and vocal. They’re unafraid to get on somebody when they feel he isn’t performing. That means a quarterback must have something beyond just a good arm or mobility. He must have mental toughness. This is where Caleb Williams comes in.

Many view the USC standout as the unquestioned #1 quarterback prospect in the 2024 draft class. The Chicago Bears hold the #1 overall pick. If they plan to move off Justin Fields this off-season, Williams is the obvious choice to replace him, right? Some are skeptical of that. While the physical skillset is undeniable, some wonder if the quarterback has the necessary fortitude to deal with the high pressure he’ll be under in this city. One GM raised this point to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.

“How is he going to be inside the stress of Chicago? That’s a football town with grand expectations. How is he going to handle that? This isn’t like Brock Purdy, the last pick in the draft on a good (49ers) team with nothing to lose. This is like an entire city is going to be depending on him to be the guy.

“And if he winds up there, he’ll also be replacing a guy (in Fields) that the fan base seemingly really liked. Man, that’s a lot to take. It’s a lot to handle.

Much of this skepticism stems from evidence surrounding Williams’ ability to handle highs and lows.

Cameras caught him crying in his mother’s arms after a loss to Washington this season. While many can construe this as a player who cares deeply about winning, to some, it’s a sign he is soft. An NFL coach believes something like that will never fly in a pro locker room. Not with grown men who have families to feed.

“In college they can sometimes get by with getting upset or feeling down. People frame it as, ‘He cares.’ In the league? Guys don’t feel that way. Some of these guys have kids who are 10 and 12 years old. They’re like, ‘Get out of your feelings, bro. Come on. We don’t have time for all of that.’ You have to get in the huddle and be in the locker room every day and lead grown men.”

Caleb Williams will have some tough questions to answer.

Quarterbacks who have succeeded in Chicago over the years tend to come from a similar crop. They’re young men with combative attitudes who care little for outside opinions. Sid Luckman’s father had ties to the mafia. So he grew up under a cloud of constant danger, dealing with bullies in school. Jim McMahon overcame the stigma of being blind in one eye. Growing up in a strict Mormon backdrop gave him a rebellious nature that never went away. The same was true of Jay Cutler. A battle with diabetes and constant hardships in college made him hardened to criticism.

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There aren’t any signs that Caleb Williams has dealt with such pressures. He played for great teams in college, got a full ride to Oklahoma, and then transferred to USC, where he’s been treated like a star from day one. He’s never faced real pressure. Whenever something goes wrong, it isn’t his fault. Does he have the mental toughness to handle the inevitable waves of jeers and criticisms from Bears fans when things aren’t going well in Chicago? Some aren’t sure about that.

It is why the interviews to come at the scouting combine and private visits will be imperative. Poles is guaranteed to grill him on that subject. If Williams falters under the interrogation, the Bears will have their answer.


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Jan 6, 2024 8:48 am

The Bears are not good at developing QBs and they are at their best when they have a deep, well-rounded, tough team led by a servicible tough grinder – like they have now. Why go for this guy? Not their forte.

Ralph Law
Ralph Law
Jan 5, 2024 3:50 pm

Caleb Williams is less of a QB than others in the draft. He is the product of a well -orchestrated marketing campaign organized, in part, by his family and product endorsement entities. With Fields you get a young man who wants to win and who is highly gifted. With Williams, you will procure a self-centered man interested primarily in his own personal stats.

Jan 5, 2024 2:29 pm

@jmscooby Happy New Year to you and upward trajectory with da Bears! Scooby, @RefsOnPayroll, @bulldogxxx, @jim Jones – love the thoughts and analysis given the Bears draft and quarterback positions. Lots of food for thought, regardless of your current position (and I believe that rational people change their minds as new information comes in, circumstances change, and context matters . . . and then there are dummies who only play with the thoughts running in between their ears. I start with a belief that people can change and learn. I also recognize there are some gifts people have that give… Read more »

Jan 5, 2024 11:45 am

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Last edited 3 months ago by MaralynBerniece
Jan 5, 2024 6:52 am

…regardless…who’s to say it may take 2-3 years for HIM to reach a championship level..if at all? Keep Fields..fill our many holes with top talent and build a dynasty. Lastly, nothing says we have to keep Fields if in fact he doesn’t improve. There’s still options every year to move on.

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