The quarterback is undoubtedly the most important position in football.
They are the team’s biggest decision-makers, and they need to be able to make timely plays and efficiently manage the game routinely to be a winner at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, the Bears’ history with quarterbacks is notorious. They have never had a quarterback throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. However, Chicago has new hope with the #1 overall pick, Caleb Williams.

The Bears brought in three new faces to the quarterback room this offseason to replace Justin Fields and former practice squad member Nathan Peterman.

Let’s take a look at the Bears’ revitalized quarterback room:

Caleb Williams

The Bears selected Caleb Williams with the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Some terms associated with Williams have been “generational,” “phenom,” and “leader.”

Before captivating the football world, Williams was born and raised in Washington, D.C. As a high school star, Williams chose to play college football at Oklahoma University. 

Ultimately, Williams would follow head coach Lincoln Riley to USC, where he posted one of the best seasons for a quarterback in college football history and won the Heisman. Realistically, this 2023 Heisman season secured Williams as the #1 pick in the future ‘24 draft. He could have underperformed all season this year and likely maintained this status. But he didn’t. He had another great season, although he was not Heisman-worthy.

Head coach Matt Eberflus has already stated Williams is the starter. Williams’ rookie camp and OTAs have been heavily covered. It appears there were some growing pains as on Day 3 of OTAs, during several instances in 11-on-11, Williams was late on throws or held onto the ball too long

Other than this instance, everything else seems to be going smoothly. Williams’ ability to process the information given to him from Bears coaches and execute it during practice has been “very impressive,” according to Eberflus. On May 31, during OTAs, Williams threw the ball with accuracy and touch, connecting with a multitude of receivers.

Coach Eberflus said:

“I thought 7-on-7 for Caleb was really good…I thought he did a really nice job throwing the ball on time. His footwork has improved this whole week. His progress was there.” Eberflus has seen Williams make strides in “understanding the plays and how his feet are married to those plays, if it’s just normal situations [or] if it’s play-action pass or in the red zone when it quickens up a little bit…I think he really improved on that this week…and you could see the ball coming out of his hand pretty live when his feet were right.”

An interesting note about Williams that might set him apart from most quarterbacks came from NFL insider Mike Kadlick.

“Something I’ve noticed about Caleb Williams is how wide he keeps his non-throwing hand fingers on the ball. Feel like that’s a ball security thing. Should be taught more often,” Kadlick tweeted.

Teammates have commented, too. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said:

“He’s competitive…As a rookie, he’s doing some things that are good to see. That’s the thing that gets me most excited, and I think it gets our team most excited.” 

Running back D’Andre Swift said:

“Man, just the talent jumps out at you. [He’s] somebody that’s willing to learn…You could tell it’s natural to him…You could tell he’s trying to get comfortable with the offense and everything, commanding the offense. You stand in the huddle with a whole new set of faces, a new group of guys, so it takes time for somebody to get comfortable and for that to be repetition-like. He’s doing a great job so far, taking it day by day. I talked to him about it the other day. He’s doing great so far.” 

According to oddsmakers, Williams is projected to throw for 3,450 yards and 22 touchdowns. With these numbers, Williams would destroy the Bears rookie passing records of 2,193 passing yards (Mitch Trubisky) and 11 touchdowns (Charlie O’Rourke). 

The arrival of Williams has been a breath of fresh air for Bears fans, and there is newfound hope in Chicago with the #1 pick.

Tyson Bagent

The former undrafted rookie, Bagent, returns to Chicago for his second year. Barring any drastic changes, Bagent should have the QB2 spot locked up. 

In his time on the field last season, he proved he can be a serviceable backup in this league. Bagent started four games, going 2-2 while struggling with ball protection and deep passes. When given time, he was fairly accurate, completing over 65% of his attempts with a 71.4 passer rating. 

If Bagent can control the ball better, he could be considered a high-end backup by the end of the season. Ideally, Bagent will only touch the field when the Bears are blowing out their opponents, but regardless, the need for a solid backup has never been higher. It seems the Bears may have their guy.

Here is an interesting video featuring a day with Bagent from this offseason.

Brett Rypien

Entering his 6th NFL season, the Bears signed the veteran Rypien on March 13. Rypien has made four starts in his career with the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams. After his start with the Rams, Rypien was released and ended the season bouncing around the Rams, Seahawks, and Jets practice squads.

Rypien enters the offseason program as the team’s QB3, which likely means practice squad. However, he does have competition for this spot with undrafted rookie Austin Reed. Do not be surprised if Rypien is no longer on the team come September.

Austin Reed

Reed, the third former undrafted quarterback on the roster, is a 24-year-old rookie. In 2022, Reed threw a historic 4,744 passing yards, the most in the nation. Over just two seasons, Reed is now second all-time in touchdown passes (71) and third in total yards (8,410) for a WKU quarterback. At the NFL Combine, he performed as expected, ranking as the 12th overall quarterback according to NFL Next Gen Stats. PFF also ranked Reed as the 12th overall quarterback, with a late-round grade.

Again, I would expect the Bears to have three quarterbacks by week one, two for game days and one for the practice squad. This leaves Rypien and Reed to compete for one spot. Whether the Bears go with the veteran or UDFA remains to be determined.

The hope is this newly replenished quarterback room can deliver on the hope that Bears fans are feeling. Williams may not be the reason we win or lose some games, but the fact is teams only go as far as their QB takes them come playoff time.
The idea of having a generational quarterback for your team makes every fan’s mouth water. Hopefully, Caleb Williams will turn this idea into a reality.

PHOTO: Sports Illustrated

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