New Orleans Saints fans saw what transpired Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers, a game where Teddy Bridgewater made his second straight start. After an impressive start against the Vikings, throwing for 134 yards and completing 14 of 19 passes, Bridgewater laid an egg against the Chargers. Completing five of 12 passes for 40 yards and an interception is not an exciting stat line for Saints fans. Drew Brees is going to retire soon, and Taysom Hill playing well doesn’t help Bridgewater’s case. But Saints fans, I urge you: don’t lose faith in Teddy Bridgewater. He is still growing and learning as a quarterback.
Don’t Give Up on Teddy Bridgewater Yet
Devastating Knee Injury
Teddy’s knee injury was considered one of the worst non-contact injuries this league has seen. A torn ACL with multiple ligaments torn in his leg during training camp of the 2016 season has derailed the fifth-year pro’s career. It took over a year to fully recover, and a quarterback on the cusp of taking the next step with the Minnesota Vikings was finally back healthy, but with his job no longer available.
When looking at Bridgewater’s stats the first two seasons as a starter for the Vikings, they were underwhelming, to say the least. 28 touchdowns and two interceptions isn’t exactly elite. But Tom Brady didn’t hit his elite-level till his third season as a pro. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions his rookie season. It took Drew Brees four seasons to reach his elite level. Quarterbacks aren’t elite overnight; they have to groom and grow.
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) December 1, 2017
Leadership and the desire to win stands out when Bridgewater’s name is dropped. People forget Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record in his second season as a starter and they were a missed field goal away from facing the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoffs. The reactions from Vikings players and coaches when Bridgewater went down in 2016 shows how much they respected and admired their quarterback. To get a sense of Bridgewater’s impact, check out what Stefon Diggs had to say about him.
Even during his brief stint with the New York Jets, Teddy was a class act, battling Josh McCown and Sam Darnold. Even though Darnold won the job, the Jets raved about Bridgewater’s willingness to embrace competition, learn and teach from both Darnold and McCown. In three preseason games with Jets, Bridgewater completed 73 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception. Cool the talks on demoting Bridgewater.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 29, 2018
Difference Between Hill and Bridgewater
Taysom Hill is exciting. His ability to run the football and create by extending plays certainly separates him from Bridgewater. But Hill is still a project and has not shown a proven track record of success as a starting quarterback, nor is he ready.
Bridgewater has played against teams that gameplan against his weaknesses, which is throwing a consistent deep ball. Bridgewater is accurate but not to the level of Brees. According to Pro Football Focus, Bridgewater had the third-highest adjusted completion percentage in the NFL in 2015.
Another thing to take in account is the poor offensive line play with the Vikings. Bridgewater was pressured on 47 percent of his dropbacks in the 2015 season, according to PFF. The Saints have a much better offensive line, with better weapons as well. The two options the Vikings had receiving wise was Kyle Rudolph and Stefon Diggs.
Last Word on Teddy Bridgewater
Give this man a chance. Two years ago this time, Bridgewater was still recovering from his knee injury and only had two full seasons as a starter under his belt. One game doesn’t make a man. Look at Jimmy Garoppolo‘s performance recently. Injuries are cruel.
Also, to add more context, Sean Payton said Bridgewater was dealing with an illness.