Friday, June 28, 2024

NFL Head Coach Reveals Why Bears Are Wise Starting Caleb Williams Now


Developing a quarterback is not easy. Everybody has theories on how it should be done. Probably the most popular lately is the long-standing belief you should sit a quarterback for at least a year, preferably behind a veteran, so they can learn how to operate as a professional. Patrick Mahomes and Jordan Love are the two names championing this idea of late. That is why several people aren’t sure the Chicago Bears are taking the right approach with new #1 overall pick Caleb Williams.

Head coach Matt Eberflus didn’t beat around the bush when spring practices opened last month. He made it clear that Williams would be the Bears’ starting quarterback. There would be no competition or attempt to sit him until he’s had time to learn the NFL level. That will be done on the field. This method is too reckless for some. Don’t count new Tennessee Titans head coach Brian Callahan. The former offensive coordinator knows a thing or two about developing quarterbacks. He had a hand in doing so for both Derek Carr and Joe Borrow. He explained his stance to Albert Breer of the MMQB.

In his mind, quarterbacks learn faster as a player and leader when they play immediately.

“I think you do a disservice to guys, particularly if you’re drafting them, and you make them compete for a job. Guys need to play,” Callahan said. “They need to be put in a position where they are the quarterback. There’s something about that that matters to a team and a locker room. If you’re going to do it, do it. It all sounds good—he should sit. That’s not the reality. That’s not the financial reality of the NFL, either. You’re trying to take advantage of a young quarterback on a rookie contract; that’s the other part of it.

“There’s something about being the quarterback and knowing … when you walk into the building and walk onto the field, you know that you’re the quarterback and you know that everyone around you knows that you’re the quarterback. It allows you some freedom. Especially when you’re a young player, there’s no growth unless you make mistakes.

“The problem is, if you’re competing for a job, you’re not going to be willing to make the mistakes you need to make in order to improve at a rapid rate. You’re more worried about the perception of the mistake than actually learning from the mistake. I think that does guys a disservice, and I think it stunts growth when you have to be constantly worried about it. If I know I can make this throw, but it’s going to be kind of hairy, and I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to do it anyway. Maybe it takes a hell of a throw, but I can coach off that.”

Caleb Williams won’t be entering uncharted territory.

People love to act like sitting a QB is the only path to success in the NFL. Mahomes and Love did it. Aaron Rodgers did it. Tom Brady did it. However, those people conveniently ignore several examples of quarterback playing right away and finding success, too. Peyton Manning was one. Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Andrew Luck, John Elway, Dan Marino, and C.J. Stroud were others. Yeah, those guys made a lot of mistakes as rookies. They also all had great success early in their careers. Callahan is correct. The sooner you make mistakes, the faster you learn from them.

The Bears plan to do this with Caleb Williams. They understand this will be a process and fully expect him to make mistakes. GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus feel they’ve put the right infrastructure around the quarterback for that eventuality. He has a solid defense to lean on and a variety of playmakers who should make his life easier as a passer. They want to encourage him to be aggressive. Don’t be afraid to make those tight-window throws if he feels they are gettable. As he continues to do so, he will learn when and where to make them.

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Jun 14, 2024 2:32 pm

Yeah, I mean, the QB room is Williams, an undrafted second-year QB who turned the ball over seven times last year in limited action, and one or two other guys who I can’t even name, even though I read news about this franchise every day. Ryan Poles eradicated both genuine competition and the illusion of it by giving away Justin Fields a month before the draft. My opinion is that he did this to make it clear to everyone that Caleb doesn’t need to earn the job in order to have it—I wrote it at the time, and that’s exactly… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by barry_mccockiner
Jun 14, 2024 12:41 pm

Nothing replaced experience, but there are other factors. When you have Bledsoe, or Zack Wilson or Trey Lance, they are coming from smaller programs with lesser competition and fewer college reps. Love also has an excellent coach (head coach) who understands the entire offense, which can support a young quarterback with sideline coaching, establishing receivers, runners, and linemen. When a player NEEDS to work on elements of his game, he probably should sit. But he’ll still need experience at some point. Big 10 quarterbacks, in general, despite the quality of the conference, usually need elite NFL coaching for quarterbacks. Brady,… Read more »

Jun 14, 2024 12:32 pm

Well would Williams sit and learn behind Tyson Bagent?

Jun 14, 2024 6:57 am

I absolutely know I’m not the smartest football guy in the chatroom here or even the building of old people here at the nursing home. The list of those who sat behind other quarterbacks: were their predecessors Bob Avellini, Cade McNown, or…yada yada yada. Almost to a man, those who sat, sat behind someone special who still had a contract and years of viability as a star, not some run of the mill good guy with limited talent dragging the team into obscurity. Sitting some quarterbacks is silly because if they’re not getting reps with the big boys where do… Read more »

Jun 14, 2024 6:18 am

I agree with @David it is very situational more than it is you have to sit a guy or start a guy. Notice the guys that sat for a while; they sat behind bona fide veteran stars. Brady sat behind Bledsoe, Rodgers behind Farve, Love behind Rodgers, and Mahomes behind Alex Smith. It’s much easier to take your rookie and bring him along slowly when you have a top 10 QB in front of him. When that isn’t the case, you have to start the rookie if he has the skill set to do it. Where things are ultra concerning… Read more »

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