Caleb Williams and the Chicago Bears wrapped their first week of organized team activities on Thursday. By most accounts, it was a rocky day for the rookie quarterback and the offense as a whole.

Several who were on hand to witness 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods noted errant throws, near-interceptions, red zone deficiencies, and some moments where Williams held onto the football too long. The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer wrote that Williams “looked every bit like a green quarterback still adapting to the tempo of the pro game.” Still, ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reported that Williams has already impressed Chicago wideout DJ Moore with his thirst to learn from mistakes almost immediately.

Chicago reporters noted that Williams completed just 3 pass attempts during the 7-on-7 period. Wiederer called it a bumpy day. Neither big-ticket offseason acquisition Keenan Allen nor first-round draft pick Rome Odunze were available to Williams during the aforementioned periods. The right side of Williams’ offensive line was also patchwork with Nate Davis and Darnell Wright both out.

But a poor day from the No. 1 overall pick will make headlines regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. Social media will crack jokes. Sports talk shows will come up with eye-catching chyrons and talk about whether a week in May determines Williams’ potential. Such is life.

Expectations are through the roof for Williams, a former Heisman Trophy winner who was written in pencil on the No. 1 card for almost 2 years prior to draft night.

That Williams finds himself in Chicago — with a starved fanbase and a brutal recent history at the quarterback spot — makes the spotlight on his first year even hotter. Chicago has 1 first-place finish in the NFC North in the last 13 years and only 2 playoff appearances during that time.

The Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky second overall in 2017 and it just never clicked. They drafted Justin Fields 11th overall in 2021 to replace Trubisky and pulled the plug on that experience this offseason.

Williams is seen as a savior.

Or, more aptly put, Williams is tasked with being the savior.

“This is his first time going against a pro defense, and a pretty good one,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. “It’s going to be a learning (experience) for everybody.”

Chicago offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is in his first season with the organization, coming over from Seattle. Everyone — not just Williams — is learning a new offense. There will be growing pains. In May, drinking out of the hose is to be expected.

“I mean, we had a good day,” said safety Kevin Byard. “I’m not going to sit here and lie about that. But to be honest, it’s to be expected. You have a returning top-15, top-10 defense, obviously going against a younger rookie quarterback who’s getting acclimated and learning things, that’s what it is supposed to look like.”

What’s fair to expect of Williams in 2024?

He’s a significant favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+150 via ESPN Bet). His passing total in Year 1 was set at 3,450.5, and the over has -115 odds. ESPN Bet has -125 odds on Williams throwing at least 23 touchdowns.

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A Chicago quarterback hasn’t thrown for 23 touchdowns in a season since Trubisky tossed 24 in 2018. A Chicago quarterback hasn’t cleared 3,400 yards since Jay Cutler was playing in the Windy City (2015). A Chicago rookie has won the OROY award only once in its history (Anthony Thomas, 2001).

The last 2 quarterbacks to win the award (CJ Stroud and Justin Herbert) topped 4,000 yards through the air. Kyler Murray had 3,722 yards, 544 rushing yards, and 24 total touchdowns when he won it in 2019. Dak Prescott had 29 total touchdowns for a Dallas team that went 13-3 during his rookie year in 2016.

It’s a high bar to clear. Williams will have to be exceptional. Maybe he’s capable of a Herbert-like rookie season where he sets the world on fire week in and week out. Chicago likely just wants to see that it has finally found a longterm answer at the position.

There’s plenty of time to get from where he is now to where he needs to be.

Chicago wideout DJ Moore said everyone is getting used to playing with one another within the offense. “You’ve just got to know the growing pains are going to be there,” Moore said. But Eberflus reiterated that Chicago is pleased with the track Williams is on.

He’s understanding coverages and what Waldron wants him to do within the scheme. “We’re not holding back,” Eberflus said of the team’s approach. The coaching staff has seen Williams take teachings from the film room one day to the field the next day.

And in the absence of those highlight-reel-forming plays that Williams produced in school, the rookie is still impressing his teammates.

“You can see that the natural leadership is there, the natural arm talent is there,” Moore said. “Everything about him, it’s just always a positive thing. Even when he has a bad play, he’s looking to learn real fast right after. That’s all you can ask of him, for him to quickly forget but also learn at the same time.”