The Green Bay Packers wanted to face Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday night, but maybe not for the same reason you wanted Teddy to face them.
After passing on him with their 9th overall pick, Teddy Bridgewater was selected 32nd overall in the 2014 draft by the Minnesota Vikings after they moved back into the 1st round in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for the 40th and 108th overall picks.
From the 3rd game of his rookie season when QB Matt Cassel went down with an injury, Teddy Bridgewater has been the starter of the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater threw for 14 TD and 12 INT his rookie year and followed it up with 14 TD and 9 INT in his second year. The same number of TD’s in 4 more starts is not an indication of a whole lot of growth anyone’s opinion.
Bridgewater seemed to turn a corner in his 3rd preseason with a deeper ball accuracy shown and throwing with a bit more velocity, so fans and coaches alike were looking forward to a jump in production from their young QB.
Then the unthinkable happened. Bridgewater went down in a heap during a nonp-contact QB drill with such a significant knee injury, no one knows if he will be able to play in 2017.
Matt Miller of Bleacher report was by far, Teddy Bridgewater’s biggest fan and cheerleader entering the 2014 draft and had Bridgewater not only rated as his #1 QB in that draft, but the #1 overall pick. That is high praise. I have to say, Bridgewater wasn’t my #1 player or #1 QB. In fact, he wasn’t my top 5 QB in that draft, but that is meant for another story.
When Bridgewater went down in August with his knee injury, stands to reason that Miller would be inundated with calls and texts from all walks of life including scouts, players and coaches.
The most interesting of all the texts he received were those from Packers players. Miller writes about it below:
When the Teddy Bridgewater injury happened, my phone blew up. Coaches, players, scouts, friends…everyone knew Bridgewater was my No. 1 player in the 2014 draft and that I’d taken a decent amount of flak for that stance. So when he went down, people were concerned.
Except for some members of the Green Bay Packers. They called and texted to let me know this was bad news for them. You see, the Packers wanted to face Bridgewater because they felt their defense could control him with his short throws and timing-based passing.
Shaun Hill? A wild card with a better arm.
Sam Bradford? Now people are worried.
It’s interesting to me that a Pro Bowl quarterback and former first-round pick would be a player a team wants to face, but as one defender from Green Bay told me, they were instructed not to hurt Bridgewater during the 2015 season because he was easier to defend than Hill.
Take that for what it’s worth, but this is how NFL defenses think.
The fact that the Packer defenders were instructed NOT to injure Bridgewater because they would rather face him than Shaun Hill is very interesting. For any lack of production Bridgewater may have on the field, he is beloved by coaches, teammates and fans alike for being a good guy and hard worker, but he is not feared by defenses and that is very compelling to hear.
It is no secret that I have given more credit for the Vikings defense winning games rather than Bridgewater, but Vikings and Vikings fans always point to Teddy’s record as a starter, so how do you argue with that logic? The last game the Vikings played vs Green Bay, Bridgewater threw for 99 yards and 1 INT. He still got the win and division title, but you can maybe see the logic the Packers defenders are using to rather face Bridgewater.
No one knows how the Vikings will fare with Sam Bradford under center. If he plays well, Sunday vs the Packers and has a good season, there will be some large decisions to make next year and the year after when Bridgewater is due to end his rookie contract. If he fails miserably, Bridgewater fans will be able to say “see, we needed Teddy”.