WHY IT’S NOT RIDICULOUS TO THINK TEDDY BRIDGEWATER SHOULD START
There’s been a lot of talk about how it’s best to let Teddy Bridgewater sit and learn this year.
This “analysis” or “opinion” drives me crazy.
I don’t have inside intel like our local sports reporters, bloggers and talk radio hosts. They may have the inside scoop and if so, I’d like them to detail why they think Cassel has performed so well that it’s ridiculous for fans like myself to think Bridgewater should start.
I’ll address three arguments that are commonly used as reasons to not start Teddy.
1) Matt Cassel Clearly Won QB Competition
He did? Cassel went into training camp as the starter and has played well to keep his job. No denying that. But in 3 preseason games, Cassel and Bridgewater have almost identical stats:
Cassel: 26 of 39 for 367 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs.
Bridgewater: 26 of 40 for 266 yards, 4TDs, 0 INTs
Sure, the naysayers will claim most of Bridgewater’s numbers are the result of playing versus the other team’s scrubs. True. But if Bridgewater is any good, he should shine against lesser competition, right? Also remember that Teddy is playing with our reserves, so it’s a level playing field. It’s not like Bridgewater is running with our first-team against our opponent’s second- and third teams.
You have to give Bridgewater credit for making the most of his moments to shine. He lead the team to a last-minute victory while facing blitzes nearly every play on the winning drive against the Arizona Cardinals. Then versus the Kansas City Chiefs, he was efficient in the red zone throwing 2 touchdowns to TE Allen Reisner. Bridgewater sidestepped the rush on one TD toss and froze the defense with a look-off before throwing the second TD.
Whoa, hold on, what about the Oakland Raider game when Teddy looked so-so? I would argue that if Bridgewater’s roll-out completion to WR Greg Jennings hadn’t been called back for a penalty and the first-team offense didn’t sputter due to subsequent penalties, Teddy might have had a different night. Sure, I’m speculating, but it’s not like our first-team helped Bridgewater that night.
2) Sitting Worked For Aaron Rodgers
The people pushing for Teddy to sit his rookie year often use Aaron Rodgers in their argument. Rodgers sat on the sidelines for 3 years waiting for Brett Favre to decide to retire. It worked with Rodgers so why shouldn’t it work for Bridgewater?
My hunch is that Rodgers always had the talent and intestinal fortitude to be a starter in his rookie season. He didn’t need “marinating”. And either does Bridgewater.
Unfortunately, Rodgers had to sit because he couldn’t “beat out” Favre, who by then, had already become a living legend in the NFL. Rodgers had to sit because of “office politics”. You can’t be “the man” until “the man” leaves.
Matt Cassel is not Brett Favre. Cassel is an adequate NFL starter. Favre is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. With the Vikings situation, if the QB competition is close and Cassel is not Brett Favre, then let Teddy start.
The Vikings and their fans don’t “owe” Cassel anything. Yes, Cassel was treated badly by the Vikings and should have been allowed to start last year rather than endure the Christian Ponder experiment. But that was then, this is now. I’m not looking to make up for Cassel’s mistreatment.
3) A Rookie QB Will Hurt The Vikings Chances
Hurt our chances for what? This is a rebuilding year for the Vikings. New coaching staff. One of the youngest teams. Playing in a tough division. Yes, we are improved and will be better than expected. But we’re predicted to be only slightly better than last year’s awful 5-10-1 team – with little chance to compete for the NFC North title or make the playoffs.
If Bridgewater starts, do you think the Vikings are going to be so much worse? Do you think the difference between Cassel and Bridgewater is the difference between a winning or a losing record? I don’t think so. This isn’t Cassel versus Ponder. If Cassel had started last year, I believe the Vikings would have had a winning season.
I have nothing against Matt Cassel. I like Cassel and believe he can lead the Vikings offense. But I’m about the future. Teddy Bridgewater is the future for the Vikings. Cassel has had his chances in the NFL. Now it’s Teddy’s turn.
I’m a big believer in learning by doing. It’s easier to learn how to do something from actually being forced to do it, rather than watching someone else do it. Sure, you’ll make mistakes, but if you’re smart and capable, you’ll pick things up fast and bounce right back.
The sooner Bridgewater goes through the ups and downs of his rookie season, the sooner the Vikings can become a legitimate contender year after year. The only thing ridiculous is to say that it’s ridiculous to believe that Bridgewater should start.
From what I’ve seen and read, Bridgewater has not disappointed the coaching staff. Both Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner have praised Bridgewater’s talent, work ethic and mental makeup. Bridgewater’s nickname is GUMP (Great Under Major Pressure). He doesn’t seem like the type of player that wilts in the spotlight or fears mistakes.
With all things close going against Cassel and opposing defenses, Two-Minute Teddy time is now.