There he was. Teddy Bridgewater walked into his first press conference back in August of 2018. I was in the room that day. Word came down Teddy Bridgewater got traded from the New York Jets to the New Orleans Saints. And he immediately became a Saint overnight.
Teddy Bridgewater’s Return on Investment set the bar for Backup Quarterbacks
The Saints traded a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick in 2019 for Bridgewater. The reaction was mixed at the time. With some of the past injuries, nothing was guaranteed. At the time, the Saints had a one-year insurance plan just in case. The insurance didn’t need to be used. Drew Brees played every game except the last one. Week 17, the Saints wrapped up the number-one seed. Bridgewater finally got a chance to play in an NFL game. Albeit, a meaningless game as far as significance.
He finished with 123 yards on 14 of 23 passes and one touchdown versus an interception. Not exactly legendary but satisfactory. And it didn’t matter. Brees finished out the year. The physical talent remained. The injury healed 100 percent. The big question remained unanswered. Could Teddy Bridgewater play anywhere close to his pre-injury days? Additionally, did he have the mental fortitude to feel as though he belonged?
Inner Strength And Unshakeable
Even back in August of last year, signs pointed to getting a steal of a deal for the Saints. Even before Bridgewater stepped foot on an NFL field, his persona stayed true to form. The calm and collected quarterback looked to be the most NFL ready in 2014. Remember, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel were picked before Bridgewater, and neither has panned out.
The one thing that stands out watching Bridgewater over the years is staying true to himself. His toughness is also underrated, but it’s the way he carries himself on and off the field. Here are a few adjectives used by NFL site WalterFootball.com.
When Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury, no one really knew what to expect. With Bridgewater looking rusty early, the chirping became deafening calls for Taysom Hill to start. Hill looked to be the wedding cake ice cream while Bridgewater was plain vanilla. The media and the fans didn’t see what was lying underneath. Teddy Bridgewater still had it.
The captain of the ship wore a different number. Instead of the master craftsman Drew Brees, Who Dat Nation got a steady hand. No one predicted a 5-0 stretch under Bridgewater. Beating the Seattle Seahawks in his first start set the tone. Then the Saints held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys. The rest is history.
The story wrote itself a year ago. Bridgewater had opportunities to be a starter elsewhere but decided to back up Drew Brees. Once again, another smart decision. Coming in to fill in for New Orleans “Breesus” is a tough gig. Most quarterbacks can’t handle the pressure, but others want to come in and prove themselves. Bridgewater looked to be out in the backyard playing family football on Thanksgiving.
And as Thanksgiving is closing in, many teams passed on Bridgewater just like Brees in 2005. Will history repeat itself? The only thing for sure is this. There are a plethora of starting quarterbacks who simply aren’t as talented as Bridgewater. Many coaches and scouts are going to pay for those decisions. Speaking of pay, Teddy Bridgewater is about to get handsomely compensated.
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