The New Orleans Saints have lost star and hall of fame-to-be quarterback Drew Brees for at least the next six weeks with a thumb injury. He collided hands with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald while attempting a throw, and came out of it on the wrong end. The ordeal has left Brees unable to grasp a football. He enters surgery on Wednesday to attempt to fix a tendon in his hand. Brees has now, quite literally, left the Saints offense in the hands of back-up quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Many analysts have lowered their expectations for the Saints tremendously following the loss of Drew Brees. It seems as though most media, in a league of “What have you done for me lately,” have forgotten who Teddy Bridgewater is. Let us take a second to dive into the career of Bridgewater in the not so ancient past.
Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater was a three year starter for the University of Louisville, even receiving considerable Heisman trophy hype during his career there. Getting a chance in his freshman season, Bridgewater never looked back, leading the Cardinals out of the closing Big East and into the American Conference. He threw for almost 10,000 yards and 72 scores to just 24 interceptions.
Bridgewater entered the NFL Draft after his junior season, and the move paid off. The Minnesota Vikings traded back up into the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and selected him with the 32nd overall pick. In case you don’t remember, the quarterbacks selected before him were Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns).
Teddy Bridgewater’s pro career
Teddy was pressed into service in week 3 of his rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings, when veteran quarterback Matt Cassel went down with an injury. Bridgewater ended up starting the rest of the season, leading 3 game winning drives, and compiling a 6-6 record as a starter. The Vikings went 7-9 and appeared to have their guy going forward.
Bridgewater looked like a promising NFL star in 2015 when he started a full 16 games, leading the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a wild card appearance against the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, Blair Walsh had a chance to continue the playoff run with a 27 yard field goal attempt that he shanked wide left. Bridgewater was a good game manager, completing 65% of his pass attempts, compiling an 88.7 passer rating and showed good growth from his rookie season.
Disaster struck in training camp of 2016 as Bridgewater tore his ACL early in camp, and was done for the season. Minnesota moved for Sam Bradford to hold the team off for a season, going 8-8. Unfortunately for Bridgewater, his injury was more complicated, and he was unable to play most of 2017 as well. Case Keenum came to the rescue, and the Vikings were content to move on without Bridgewater.
Teddy Bridgewater as a back-up quarterback
Teddy didn’t receive the 5th year option of his rookie contract and signed a deal with the New York Jets, who were bringing pieces around their rookie, Sam Darnold, and having a quarterback competition. Bridgewater lasted a couple of weeks in New York, before the Jets traded him with a 6th round pick to the New Orleans Saints for a 3rd.
Now, Teddy Bridgewater has been in New Orleans for a full season, and when he has played with the Saints, he hasn’t been bad. He started the week 17 match last season for the Saints as they rested most of their starters for the playoffs.
What can we expect from Teddy Bridgewater?
The most that Saints fans can expect from this man is a game manager. That’s what Teddy is, and that’s what he does well. Sean Payton has a week to figure out how he will use Bridgewater’s skillset for the next six weeks. Payton is a master of this kind of thing, so I have no doubt that he will figure out a good way.
That being said, fantasy players who own running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas, don’t freak out. The Saints are going to find ways to get the ball to their playmakers, and that’s the job of a game manager anyways. Alvin Kamara shouldn’t be heavily effected, and I think we will see more usage with tight end Jared Cook. The other receivers on this team… I don’t know how they will fare. But Kamara and Latavius Murray should be fine.
Are the Saints lost with Teddy Bridgewater?
No, the Saints are most definitely not lost. Even without Drew Brees, this team has many playmakers that once the ball gets in their hands, they are going somewhere. The roster was prepared for this. The Saints have six games until the bye. There will be some tougher opponents, like the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks. However, there are some lighter opponents, like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sean Payton will have a plan, and the Saints will still win football games. It’s not over yet.