Chicago Bears name Caleb Williams the starting quarterback: 'No conversation'

LAKE FOREST, Ill. - There will be no quarterback battle this summer. The Chicago Bears have already named their starting QB.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus opened rookie mini camp Friday by declaring Caleb Williams as the team's starting quarterback.

According to Eberflus, it wasn't even a debate.

"No conversation," Eberflus said. "He's the starter."

In previous years, the Bears have eased their rookies into playing time before handing them the reins.

In 2021, the Bears signed Andy Dalton and started him ahead of Justin Fields as Fields learned how to adjust to the NFL. In 2017, the Bears did the same by signing Mike Glennon before drafting Mitchell Trubisky.

Before the Bears drafted Williams, they signed former Rams quarterback Brett Rypien to go along with current Bears' quarterback Tyson Bagent.

Bagent and Rypien won't compete with Williams. Williams will be the guy from Day 1 in training camp.

Given that he's the starter, Eberflus is expecting Williams to be in the moment as he puts Shane Waldron's offensive concepts into action for the first time.

"Just be where your feet are, right?" Eberflus said. "Be in that moment, be in the play, execute that play, turn the page, go to the next play. That's what the elite guys do and that's what we expect from him."

Williams is in full agreement with Eberflus' vision for minicamp.

"Obviously, you have goals that you set for yourself right in the moment, also your goals in the future," Williams said. "That's important. But also understanding the moment that we're in and being in that moment is really important."

Williams will be the 14th rookie QB to start for the Bears in the Super Bowl era, following Bagent in 2023 and Fields in 2021.

However, Williams' status as QB1 is a bit of a divergence. The Bears rarely start rookie quarterbacks in their first NFL game. The last rookie to start at quarterback for the Bears was Kyle Ortonin 2005, after 2003 first-round pick and starting quarterback Rex Grossman was injured in the preseason.

The Bears picked Jim McMahon, Jim Harbaugh, Shane Matthews, Grossman, Trubisky and Fields with first-round selections. None of those quarterbacks started Week 1 as rookies in Chicago.

However, Eberflus has experience with this.

When Eberflus was a coach with the Dallas Cowboys, he watched as Dak Prescott started Week 1 for the Cowboys after incumbent starting quarterback Tony Romo's injury.

"The whole team rallied around him and we had a really good year that year, and a couple years after that," Eberflus said "He stepped right into that and owned it."

Still, this is different. There's more pressure around Williams as the No. 1 overall pick and the quarterback history with the Bears.

It helps that Williams already has a leg up. He's been working on installing the Bears playbook since before he was officially drafted. With that extra time around Shane Waldron's offense, Williams can not only hit the Halas Hall ground running, but he can also help some of the other rookies along as they do their own install, too.

That's one of the few things Williams is looking forward to at mini camp this week.

"Being able to teach is always big, but it's also another way for you to learn," Williams said. "It also shows you how much that, and so I would say those, and then just being around the guys enjoying their time together, getting on the field, executing."

Williams said he knows he'll make mistakes, and while he abhors mistakes on the football field those miscues are a part of the learning process.

"I'm gonna make mistakes and I don't really like mistakes and messing up," Williams said. "I know there's a bunch of guys also they're gonna be in the same position as me."