Chicago Bears fans are already anti-Chris Williams for the most part. It’s hard to find a fan who is happy with the second year player to this point. Rightfully so, to a small extent given Williams’ back injury last year. It was frustrating to see someone like John St. Clair struggle so much in pass protection, hell struggle overall.
However it’s not fair to call a player a bust simply because of a back injury. The media mess that followed didn’t help Williams’ standing with the fans one bit. Much like the Jay Cutler Brian Urlacher mess this year that was manufactured, the manufactured coverage regarding this being a lingering injury contributed to the dog house the Windy City nation put Williams in. Fans have no faith in the first round pick, although you’d be hard pressed to find a first round pick on the Bears’ roster that they do have faith in.
Putting aside the debate about Williams’ injury from last year, he should be given a clean slate. Williams yes has been anointed the starting RT. He likely would have been the LT had the Bears not lured Orlando Pace in, in free agency. What is lost on the fan base is that the only thing that kept Williams from being the starter last year was the fact that the coaching staff decided to keep continuity on the starting offensive line throughout all of last year. It’s not as if Williams didn’t play last year, he did come back and play after his surgery. A fact lost on most fans who prefer to ignore some facts directly in front of their faces.
So where does that leave Williams now? He’s a man on a mission, out to prove he’s not a bust and that he deserves to be the starter. Williams thus far in camp is out there doing just that, proving that he’s the best RT on the team. Williams is big and athletic and he’s strong enough to hold up in the run game. He’s made his presence known early in training camp with some major collisions.
Perhaps what may benefit Williams the most is learning from future hall of famer Orlando Pace. Pace is very much a leader and a mentor and always is out there willing to help. He teaches all the little tricks of the trade and the things that have helped him make him successful. Having Pace out there is like having a second offensive line coach out there.
While Williams is still an inexperienced rookie for the most part, he is showing the flashes of talent you would expect. Most all of the players on the line agree that Williams has Pro Bowl level talent and is full capable of being the guy to anchor the right side of the offensive line.
Examples of some of this talent versus inexperience is a one on one pass rush drill in which the defense has the advantage. The offensive lineman doesn’t know exactly which lineman is going to rush at any given time out of the four man front. He just knows one of them is coming and he has to get to the one that is coming and block him out accordingly. On one play Williams stuffed former Pro-Bowl DE Adewale Ogunleye and then punished him by driving him into the ground. However on the very next rush, Mark Anderson put a nifty spin move on Williams and got to the QB unscathed.
The bright spot though was the coaching Williams received after that play, not from the staff, but from 12-year veteran Olin Kreutz. While Kreutz dismissed the coaching as just talking football, the message is clear the lineman will be watching out for each other this year.
Tags: 2009 Chicago Bears training camp, 2009 NFL, 2009 NFL training camp coverage, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears training camp, Chicago Bears Training Camp coverage, Chicago Sports, Chris Williams, football, Monsters of the Midway, NFL, Olin Kreutz, Orlando Pace, Sports