NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The highest-paid backup quarterback in the league, Teddy Bridgewater, did exactly what he’s being paid to do: win games when the starter is out.
Yet, despite the victory in Seattle, where the Saints became the first team to win there in the month of September since 2010, Bridgewater still isn’t good enough in the eyes of some “fans.”
The following are taken from the submissions to the Final Word feature of our Final Play app:
“Call Coach Payton and ask him to please put Taysom in!” - posted at 4:38 p.m., roughly an hour into the game and before Bridgewater’s two-minute drive to give the Saints a 20-7 lead.
“They need to take Bridgewater out. Put Hill in. Bridgewater has never been a quarterback. I don’t know why the heck the Saints even picked him up. Pull him out so we can get a Super Bowl.” - posted at 5:59 p.m., when the Saints had the game taken care of, including two touchdown drives led by Bridgewater
That’s not including the Facebook comments on the WVUE Fox 8 News page where we saw, “Teddy is not the answer” and “Teddy didn’t do that good of a job. Special teams and defense did. Not him.”
I have to note that there were a lot more supportive posts / comments for Teddy than after last week, but the point I’m going to make in a minute is this is the Teddy Bridgewater that wins games. It’s always been that way. If this were the 2014-2016 Saints where Brees had to throw for 300+ yards to give them a chance, Bridgewater probably wouldn’t cut it.
But this is a Saints team that, as we saw on Sunday, is built to score in a variety of ways, including defensive and special teams touchdowns. That’s why this is a team sport. Let’s get into the numbers (since that’s what everyone looks at anyway) that best describe Bridgewater’s career.
During his pro-bowl season in Minnesota where he led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and playoff berth, Teddy finished the season completing 65 percent of his passes for 3,321 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. That’s averaging about 202 yards and less than a touchdown per game. Obviously, that’s far less than what Brees would do. But that’s the quarterback the Saints signed, a guy who can lead his team to win games in the NFL regardless of his numbers.
Because here’s the thing: numbers DO lie. Check out these stat lines:
14-28, 153 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
13-24, 121 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
13-21, 144 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
14-22, 140 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
20-28, 174 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
17-20, 231 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Those are six of Bridgewater’s 11 wins in the 2015 season, thanks to the TEAM around him, which is what the Saints and head coach Sean Payton preached after their loss to the Rams. If everyone does their job, Teddy will do his. Not to mention, the Saints have much better weapons around Bridgewater now than the Vikings did four years ago.
His top targets that season were rookie receiver Stefon Diggs, who was the leading receiver with 52 receptions, tight end Kyle Rudolph, who finished with 49 catches for 495 yards and five touchdowns, and Mike Wallace, who totalled 39 catches for 473 yards with two scores. I’ll take Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn Jr. (proven play-makers) and the Saints offensive line over that any day.
Adrian Peterson was the obvious focal point of the 2015 Minnesota offense and had a great year, rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns. So they fed him the ball, just like the Saints are going to feed Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and let them make the plays around Bridgewater.
Will it get tougher this week for Teddy facing the Cowboys? Yes, of course it will. He (or Taysom Hill) will probably have to do more if they’re forced to keep pace with an improved Dallas offense. But I hope we can stop bashing Teddy for not being Drew Brees. Bridgewater is going to be himself. The coaches want him to be himself.
So, why do we want him to be someone he’s not?