You know that guy that scouts tried to pummel down dtaft boards? He didn’t die. Now he’s brewing something special.
It’s Pro Day at the University of Louisville. The lights, the cameras, the eyes — they are all on Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe this would have been different if he threw at the combine, maybe not. But never mind, none of that matters now. The only thing that matters is what’s happening today.
The 6’2 QB from Miami, Florida drops back for his first pass of the day. Gloveless. An unfamiliar sight for those that had watched him through his college years. An out route to Former Louisville player Damian Copeland soars through the air of the indoor Trager Facility. There’s a definite wobble to it. No worries. Maybe it was just first pass nerves, right? His second pass, a razor sharp slant route to former Cardinal Andrell Smith.
I remember thinking to myself, ‘alright, he’s fine’. Not quite.
The wobbliness of each pass continued, some worse than others. One so bad that it completely over shot the receivers hand on a fade route to the left sideline. Sure, there were some passes that just made you say ‘wow’. Those type of passes that we’d grown accustomed seeing from Teddy Bridgewater, but the bad ones outweighed the good. After the day was completed, the final tally read 57 passes completed, 65 thrown.
Maybe it was just a bad day, maybe not. It doesn’t matter anyway. Those excuses don’t hold weight in the NFL and they certainly don’t work on a players Pro Day. A day where Teddy’s trying to exhibit why an NFL team should invest millions in his ability.
Analysts everywhere had a field day. They quickly tore down the guy that many were considering a potential number one pick.
“It’s designed for you to have success, it’s supposed to be sort of a dog and pony show,” Todd McShay said following the Pro Day. “No defense, no coverage to read, no pass rushers, in shorts and a t-shirt, throwing to your own receivers, in a scripted workout that has been rehearsed day in and day out. There’s no excuse, no reason.”
From there, everyone and anyone wanted to pile on Teddy Bridgewater. Critiquing anything that one could perceive as a weakness. Hand size was a hot topic. One scout explained that his 9 ¼ inch hand size was a concern, while saying a few weeks later that a Quarterback with the exact same hand size was ‘fine and over the threshold’.
People talked about drafting Tom Savage before Teddy Bridgewater. The Tom Savage who went to three schools and threw more interceptions than games played, as opposed to the Bridgewater who was in the Top 3 of nearly every record book at Louisville……..a school of Quarterbacks.
NFL’s Mike Mayock was extremely outspoken, going so far to say that Teddy Bridgewater should drop out of the first round. This coming after saying his Pro Day was one of the worst he’d seen in ten years.
It was all completely baffling to me. I sat in press box or along the sidelines for nearly each of Teddy Bridgewater’s game and watched excellence. A guy that I viewed as the best QB in the 2014 NFL draft, one who was proving it statistically, wasn’t good enough for quarterback starved franchises in the NFL. I didn’t get it. I missed the memo that Pro Days knockout years of accolades of a Collegiate Career.
This is indeed how the Vikings got the player who may become the next biggest thing in the NFL, with the final pick of the first round in the NFL Draft.
Fast forward to the start of Training Camp in Minnesota. Things are simpler now. Bridgewater has his gloves on. There are no scouts, only coaches. There no talks of hand size, just football. Just the way Teddy Bridgewater likes it.
The great offensive mind of Norv Turner is new here. In his first season as the Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator something has him excited. It’s Teddy Bridgewater. Try as he must, he has to tell somebody about this. Luckily, it was a media member assembled in Minnesota:
“I think he should have gone in the first ten picks,”
“I knew he’d make great decisions, quick decisions, but he’s been outstanding throwing the ball deep, which some people thought that was going to be an issue,” Norv Turner told Brian Hall of FoxSports.com. “I think he’s been put in a position where he’s had to make most of the throws he would have to make and I think he can make all the throws he needs to make.”
It seems daily now there are constant reports about how Bridgewater continues to impress. He’s already surpassed last season’s starter in Christian Ponder, who now appears to be the odd man out. From here on, it’s a daily battle between Matt Cassell and Bridgewater. One that Bridgewater is slowly starting to run away with.
Final tally from 11-on-11 drills tonight: Cassel 5-for-9, Bridgewater 12-for-13 (only incompletion was a drop), Ponder 1-for-2.
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) July 29, 2014
Each day that passes, Bridgewater is getting more snaps. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before he wins the the quarterback job. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. Bridgewater is just too good and impressing too many important people not to get the nod. No surprise to any of us that watched him.
Louisville fans watched him as he destroyed a Florida defense in the 2013 Sugar Bowl that was full of NFL talent. Cardinal fans watched him make every clutch throw, every time he was needed andwatched him lose only three games (in one of those games he didn’t finish) his final two seasons at Louisville. He stood up to every test put against him.
Once Bridgewater gets the nod, the pieces are there immediately for the Minnesota Vikings to compete. It helps when you have Adrian Peterson in the backfield. The All-Pro, Do-It-All, whale of a man is the perfect safety net for a rookie QB.
Wanna air it out? Wanna let the world know why you drafted Teddy Bridgewater? That’s fine, too. There’s veterans in place there. Maybe, it’s the offensive genius Norv Turner? That guy that took the Oakland Raiders from the 27th best passing offense to the 8th best passing offense in one season. You couldn’t imagine a better fit for Teddy Bridgewater. Maybe it’s the actual players, you know the guys that make the catches? That’s what you have Greg Jennings for. Sure, he’s 30 years old. But he still runs a 4.4 and will still be in the right place when Teddy Bridgewater needs him.
The Vikings first preseason game is August 8th. A Friday night match-up against the Oakland Raiders. You had better get your popcorn ready, you had better clear your schedule. Something special is about to happen. Teddy Bridgewater is getting ready to have some fun with the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings.
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