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Bleacher Report – Vikings

He won’t be starting, but Saints are a solid landing spot for Bridgewater

By Matthew Coller

For a long time after suffering a gruesome practice injury in late August 2016, it appeared Teddy Bridgewater would never step on an NFL field again. So the New Orleans Saints’ decision to give up a third-round pic on Wednesday to acquire his services from New York Jets tells you how far he’s come.

In three preseason games with the Jets — Bridgewater’s first real game action since the injury aside from a handful of snaps in garbage time against the Cincinnati Bengals last year — he went 28-for-38 with 316 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, good for a 104.7 quarterback rating.

That was all the Saints needed to see to acquire the former Minnesota Viking quarterback.

With all-time great quarterback Drew Brees under contract for New Orleans through 2019, the move might not appear on the surface to benefit Bridgewater. But there’s a number of different directions things could go that would make the trade successful for both the team and their new QB.

For the Saints, Bridgewater is just about the best possible insurance policy they could ever find if Brees were to get injured. While he hasn’t played in two years, Bridgewater was on the cusp of becoming a true franchise quarterback when he went down. With the Jets, he showed more drive behind the ball than he had in Minnesota and the same mental processing, accuracy and pocket presence.

Here’s an example:

Teddy Bridgewater avoids the rush and converts the first down pic.twitter.com/yu3fzKbmeS

— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) August 17, 2018

With a roster stacked with talent, from receiver Michael Thomas to playmaking running back Alvin Kamara to a solid offensive line, the Saints do not want to hand over the keys to Chase Daniel in case of emergency. They do not want to waste a win-now year because of a QB injury.

From Bridgewater’s viewpoint, there were few better options. Since the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to roll with Blake Bortles and his Jets club went with the rookie Sam Dalnold, starting opportunities were nonexistent. His best case scenario was finding a backup role on a winning team with a quarterback approaching retirement age.

If Bridgewater does have to play in 2018, it will give him a chance to earn the Saints’ trust as their future quarterback or showcase his skills to a quarterback-needy team in 2019 (he is a free agent after this year). Even if he doesn’t see the field, the ex Louisville star can show his new team on a daily basis in practice that he’s ready to take the reigns if Brees walks away after the 2018 season.

Bridgewater has probably done enough already to intrigue someone next year if Brees stays through 2019. Or he could stick around for another year as the backup.

There’s no rush. Bridgewater isn’t yet 26 years old. Think of it this way: Aaron Rodgers didn’t register his first double-digit win season until age 26. If Bridgewater had to wait one more year, it would give him even more time to feel fully comfortable with his health.

And there’s the added benefit of spending time around Brees. Certainly any QB could learn a great deal from one of the legends of the game, but especially with Bridgewater’s similar style play, he might come away from New Orleans an even better player.

This article dug into Bridgewater’s stats and film to look at why he can be a franchise quarterback….

Despite injury concerns, the Vikings have reason to turn to Teddy Bridgewater

The post He won’t be starting, but Saints are a solid landing spot for Bridgewater appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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