Bear With Us: Vegas Win Totals, Poles Owners Meeting Presser, & Caleb Williams Expectations

| March 26th, 2024

It’s been a busy week for me in real life, so thanks for putting up with two audio posts back to back. Hoping to dig into some film by the end of the week.

Nick and I had a blast recording this last one — we talk through…

  • Where Vegas has the Bears’ current Over/Under (8.5 wins) and what we think about that
  • Caleb Williams’ Pro Day
  • The Keenan Allen addition & how he fits into the Bears’ puzzle
  • What to do at #9 Overall
  • What to expect from Caleb Williams as a rookie
  • And much, much more


I wrote this on Twitter yesterday — I think it fits here too. Projecting Caleb Williams’ rookie season leads you to some unrealistically exciting places — with that in mind, what should we expect from Caleb as a rookie? Well…

Lately all the talk online has been about why so many Bears writers are pumping the brakes on Caleb Williams’ rookie expectations. Many are demanding that CJ Stroud serve as the benchmark for Williams’ first season, but I can’t help thinking that any benchmark that includes a rookie throwing for ~4100 yards over 15 games en route to a Pro Bowl is a one-way ticket to disappointment. It’s not that I don’t think Williams is good enough to wow us — he is — but historically rookie seasons like that don’t happen often. So what does that mean for Williams?

I don’t think it takes bravery to say Caleb Williams should develop into a Top 5 QB within a few years. With a player of his caliber, that’s always the goal — even if that means shooting for the moon (Top 5) and landing among the stars (Top 10). This is an extraordinarily exciting opportunity to be a Bears fan, and I can’t wait to cover this story as it unfolds.

That said, I’m also the guy that expects nothing from any rookie. It’s why I didn’t expect anything from Bryce Young last year and why I’m so impressed with Darnell Wright — football media writes thousands of words each offseason that create massive expectations around kids that don’t yet know the grind of professional football, but I think simply proving they belong on the field at all in Year 1 is everything fans should be looking for.

But Caleb isn’t a mid-2nd rounder. He’s not pick #5. He’s been hailed for two years as the presumed 2024 1st Overall Pick, just like Trevor Lawrence and Andrew Luck before him, and that presents a strange case when it comes to expectations — after all, if Lawrence still threw for ~3650 yards on a 3-14 Jacksonville team while Luck led a solid Colts team to 11-5 and 4374 yards, wouldn’t it stand to reason that Caleb Williams joining an ascending 7-10 2023 Bears team should land somewhere in the middle?

It would, but we’re Bears fans. Our franchise is famously the only one remaining that hasn’t had a 4,000 yard passer. “Expecting” a season between 3650 and 4375 yards is literally expecting the best passing season in Bears history — a simple 3,840 yard season would break Chicago’s single-season record. Is expecting that even fair?

That question is why you’ve heard me preach caution. The tape says “he can do this”, weapons like DJ Moore and Keenan Allen say “he definitely can do this”, and history says “frankly he probably should do this”.

But for a franchise that just rushed both Mitch Trubisky and Justin Fields into premature “savior” roles, how is asking Caleb Williams to rewrite Chicago’s passing record book in 2024 anything other than asking for too much? Wouldn’t the aim be to let the Bears develop him however they think he best needs to be developed?

I don’t have an answer. Caleb’s tape is really good, and I think Waldron’s offense is a perfect fit for Caleb’s rookie year — it should channel what Caleb does well while safeguarding him from what typically hangs him up. Allen should be a perfect target for early downs, while Moore should be an explosive play machine. There’s so many things to like about this situation, even in his rookie year!

So I have no idea where that leaves me.

Excited? Absolutely. Optimistic? Always.

Caleb is walking into a sweet situation, and whatever happens I can’t wait to see how it plays out. I haven’t been this tuned up about the team in a while.

Your Turn: What are your thoughts on Caleb Williams rookie expectations?

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