John Crist: You told me last year that you were happy Lance Briggs was still with the team, mainly because you can learn so much from him. Now that he re-signed this year unexpectedly and took a potential starting job away from you, have your feelings changed at all?
Jamar Williams: I really try not to look at stuff like that. Like even last year, I was just happy he was back because he's a teammate and a tough player like he is. And like you said, I've learned a lot from him. So this year I went into the same offseason just thinking about myself more so, where I'm just trying to get better. I looked at both scenarios, but I knew either way nothing was going to be given to me. I'm glad Lance came back. He's one of my best friends on the team [and] a great player to have on your team, and I feel like I'm still in a good position. First of all, I'm just trying to get better every day and let the rest take care of itself.
JC: You've been getting most of your snaps during the offseason program on the weak side, but you'll be the first guy off the bench if something happens at any of the three linebacker positions. Do you feel comfortable enough to step in at middle or strong side, too?
JW: I feel [very] comfortable. Especially with last year, practicing for these guys at different positions, playing in games at different positions. You just get more comfortable. And then going into this year, each year you just try to get a little bit more confident. So this year I feel confident to play all three positions, and wherever I'm needed, whether it's special teams or playing linebacker, I'm going to try my best.
JC: You mentioned special teams. Is it any different out here on special teams now that Brendon Ayanbadejo is wearing a Ravens uniform?
JW: It is different. The tempo and practice pace he set every day was like nobody that we have right now, but somebody is going to have to step up. Whether it's me or whether it's Rod Wilson or any other guys that we have coming in, or maybe it's one of these new guys. But somebody is going to have to step up. We lost a Pro-Bowl caliber special-teamer. He's going to do a great job for Baltimore, but we've got to have somebody else step up and take his role.
LB Jamar Williams
Nam Y. Huh/AP Images
JC: Was it more difficult on you your first year when you were moved to injured reserve early and had to watch your teammates go all the way to the Super Bowl, or last year when you were able to play all 16 games but didn't even make the playoffs?
JW: I'll say more so my first year. Just because, whether we win or lose, you get better playing the game. And when you don't play the game it's tough on you, especially when you're a player and a playmaker. You want to be out there so bad. Last year, whether we went to the Super Bowl or we didn't make the playoffs, I still learned a lot. I was still able to gain a lot of confidence that I took off of that year. Where more so my rookie year, it was a lot of learning mental-wise. So I was able to get me a lot of confidence, as far as playing and being physical out there, for myself to know that I can play in this league.
JC: There's been a lot of negativity surrounding this team lately from a public-relations standpoint, so give Bears fans a reason or two to be excited about this coming season.
JW: We have a great team. We have a bunch of young guys that can come in and help us right away. It's still a veteran team, still a lot of guys that have been here from the Super Bowl run. Guys that have been here in the tough times and the great times, so we know the caliber of players that we have and we know what we gotta do to get back to the Super Bowl. And I think everyone on this team is focused. You just feel like this year everyone is real close, especially in these OTAs. A lot of guys are showing up. Everyone's out here working hard. You just see the guys that we have this year. It's just another step better for this year.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.