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Caleb Williams’ cameo in Giants’ ‘Hard Knocks’ shows what drew Bears to him

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Caleb Williams’ cameo in Giants’ ‘Hard Knocks’ shows what drew Bears to him

If you’re a rabid football fan and aren’t watching the New York Giants’ offseason version of HBO Max’s Hard Knocks, you’re doing it wrong.

And before you counter by asking why you, a Chicago Bears fans, would want to watch Giants content in the first place — normally, I’d agree with you — let me explain.

First of all, why not get a small peak into what the Bears’ training camp version of “Hard Knocks” could offer? While the Bears’ YouTube channel series “1920 Football Drive” offers some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the team, they’re always careful to curate out some of the meatiest moments or drama that may occur. “Hard Knocks” will be sure to show more of that side of things.

But secondly, if you watched this last episode in particular, you got to see some of how the Giants scouted and evaluated new Bears quarterback Caleb Williams.

The former USC quarterback took a trip to New York’s suite at the 2024 NFL Combine this past February for meetings and whiteboard work with head coach Brian Daboll, who was also shown speaking to other top quarterbacks like Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy.

Though the Giants were never going to have a shot to select Williams and didn’t seem interested in trying to trade up to No. 1, they did their diligence on the draft’s top pick (now the Bears’ franchise passer) anyway.

And the few seconds he was on screen gave you a glimpse into how Williams thinks about the game.

Towards the end of their time, Daboll asks Williams a thought-provoking question: if you could run one pass play all game — maybe even as much as 45 times — what play would you pick? After taking a beat to ponder, Williams steps to the board and draws it up.

Interestingly enough, the play Williams chose is one Daboll said he saw called a lot when he was quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets in the 2007-08 season.

The signal-caller for the Jets that year? Brett Favre.

Daboll’s reminiscence about the way Favre would read that play and the coach’s incisive questions to Williams about how he would attack certain coverages or deliver specific throws gave the distinct impression that Daboll sees a similar ability within Williams to make any throw possible at any time as Favre had.

The Giants’ scouting department did flag some of the pre-draft concerns several teams probably brought up with Williams, namely his team’s rough finish to the 2023 season and him skipping a postgame media session following a loss. But the young quarterback’s intellect and on-field resume clearly made an impression on Daboll, who’s been around some very good quarterbacks (e.g. Favre, Tom Brady, Josh Allen) in his career.

Hopefully, Williams can be that kind of player for the Chicago Bears, which might be the only franchise in the NFL that’s never had that type of quarterback before.

With training camp just around the corner, we’re getting closer and closer to finding out. With any luck, the Bears’ own “Hard Knocks” offering will be half this interesting.

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