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NFL Draft

Is Teddy Bridgewater Shining Because Of New Team Or Quality Of Opponents?

  • The Draft Network
  • September 21, 2021
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Teddy Bridgewater seems to be making a strong case for the importance of a quarterback finding a change of scenery. He’s looked really good through his first two games with his new team, and the Denver Broncos have started the season 2-0.

The thing is… their first two opponents have been the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s still too early to tell whether this stellar performance is a result of the quarterback’s development or the low quality of competition they’ve had from their opponents over the first two weeks.

The Broncos traded for Bridgewater just before this year’s draft to compete with their incumbent signal-caller Drew Lock. When Denver opted not to take a quarterback in this year’s stacked draft class, the quarterback competition became a focal point of the Broncos’ preseason. Bridgewater showed up and showed out in all three of Denver’s preseason games to win the starting job.

Since then, the veteran quarterback has shown he always deserved the spot at QB1. Through two regular-season games, he’s 54-of-70—a completion rate over 77%—with 592 yards, four touchdowns, no turnovers, a passer rating of 120.7, and most importantly, he’s 2-0. Bridgewater has played with very few mistakes—if zero interceptions and that completion rate didn’t make that clear—and has consistently moved the ball downfield to string together long drives.

It’s not like he’s only playing like he’s “Teddy Checkdown,” either. In Week 1 against the Giants, Bridgewater completed 9-of-13 passes over 10 yards. Against the Jaguars on Sunday, he tossed this bomb to Courtland Sutton for a 55-yard gain.

https://twitter.com/JoRo_NFL/status/1439662749408169986?s=20

Yes, if he hadn’t underthrown Sutton just a bit it could have been a house call, but Bridgewater’s throw was on the money on a pass that traveled about 55 yards in the air. He’s shown this season that he’s willing to go for the home run play when it’s there rather than playing the ultra-conservative game that he’s been known for.

Another strength of Bridgewater’s game has been his ability to distribute the ball to all of his weapons. In both games, nine different Broncos players have recorded at least one reception. With top receiver Jerry Jeudy out 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury, forcing opposing teams to guard the whole field will keep the Broncos’ passing game effective.

The flip side of the new Denver quarterback’s impressive play is the lack of talent he’s faced in two games. The Giants’ pass defense looked lost in their game against the Broncos. New York rarely pressured Bridgewater in the backfield and the secondary left the middle of the field wide open on more than a few occasions. The Giants showed that performance wasn’t just a one-time thing when they gave up more than 300 yards to Taylor Heinicke the following week.

In Week 2, the Jaguars didn’t make it any harder on Bridgewater. He looked more than comfortable in the pocket and went a second straight week with a completion rate over 75% with a cool 328 passing yards. It was also the second straight week the Jaguars had given up more than 290 yards to a journeyman quarterback after their previous matchup with Tyrod Taylor and the Houston Texans.

It’s not like we can hold Bridgewater’s opponents against him, though. Teams can only play who they have on their schedule and it wasn’t up to the Broncos to start their season against two teams with bad passing defenses. It does show that Bridgewater can take advantage of those defenses. Good quarterbacks should beat up on bad defenses, and he’s done just that in the first two weeks.

Bridgewater has shown why he deserved the starting job with the Broncos through two games. He’s been accurate, he hasn’t made many mistakes, and he’s shown an improved ability to be aggressive deeper downfield. He’s also done it against two defenses that haven’t been good. Denver’s quarterback will have bigger tests later this season and we’ll see how much of Bridgewater’s performance has been a result of beating up on poor defensive play.

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