It’s hard to get a good read on Teddy Bridgewater; film is limited since his return and when he did play it was with the second team. It’s a question that seems to split Saints fans, is Teddy Bridgewater the quarterback of the future? The reality of the situation is we don’t know, the coaching staff doesn’t know, and Bridgewater himself doesn’t know. For now, all we can do is hold strong opinions and argue with strangers online.
It’s hard to paint a picture when a player has played 74 total snaps since 2016. It’s that very reason Teddy Bridgewater’s name alone brings up so much debate. I’m not going to claim I know anything myself after watching four games of film, but I do understand why the Saints have so much confidence in a big question mark. Teddy Bridgewater shows flashes of greatness, and the potential alone is worth investing in the comeback story.
This clip above is very important when discussing a quarterback who dislocated his knee, tore his ACL, and suffered significant structural damage in his knee. It was unknown if Teddy would ever see the field again due to his injuries, but after two years he made his return. In this play, Bridgewater recognizes the missed blocked by Cameron Tom and the quickly collapsing pocket. He makes two quick cuts in tight space before juking David Mayo, showing very impressive lateral movement. There’s a lot on display, such as pocket awareness, quick lateral movement, agility, and football IQ sliding before taking a hit. The juke is important as well, Bridgewater puts a hard plant with his left leg, the exact leg he injured in 2016. Every move shows a player who doesn’t put his old injury in the front of his mind, there’s no hesitance, just a 26 year old quarterback who wants to compete.
His pocket awareness and mobility show up on tape. In the clip above, he uses a quick lateral step to make the blitzing linebacker miss. After avoiding the defender, he immediately gets his eyes back upfield to find the Charone Peake on the crossing route. Despite being knocked off balance, Bridgewater quickly resets his base, doesn’t get too wide or narrow, and keeps his elbow tight to drop the accurate pass. It’s very difficult to maintain good mechanics under pressure, but Teddy does a great job to be as sound as possible.
On the very next play, Teddy drops a touchdown pass to Peake on the corner route. Bridgewater shows all the signs of a veteran quarterback. He goes through all of his progressions, doesn’t force the check down, and times the pass for the touchdown. He does a good job moving his hips with his reads, putting himself in position to throw an accurate pass without adjustment. Finally, he’s able to feel the pressure when the left guard misses his block, getting rid of the ball right before taking a hit.
Great quarterbacks aren’t defined by flashy plays or highlight reels, they’re defined by getting the job done time after time. Sure, Bret Favre made the quarterback position insanely exciting, but players like Tom Brady and Drew Brees are great due to consistency and football IQ. Teddy Bridgewater showcased exactly what you want to see from your future quarterback on his first touchdown with the Saints. He has a clean pocket, but no open receivers going through his progressions. After going through all of his reads, he stays calm and doesn’t get flat footed. He directs Tre’Quan Smith off of his route and places the ball slightly high to avoid Smith getting undercut by the defensive back. A lot of young quarterbacks panic in this situation and try to scramble, but Bridgewater recognizes he has time and extends the play simply by not doing too much. It’s the small things, but the minor details are what make elite QBs so incredible.
Drew Brees was 27 years old when he joined the Saints, the same age Teddy Bridgewater would be if he returns after his one year contract is expired. It’s clear the coaching staff has trust in him, but only time will tell if it’s justified. It’s hard to describe a QB with a few gifs and paragraphs, but watching all of this tape, you can see the potential. Bridgewater shows all the small things you want from a QB. Outside of the field, he’s a positive locker room influence, a great leader, and embraces the culture of this team. With another year learning behind Brees, we should only see him get better. Will Teddy Bridgewater be the future? Only time will tell.