New York Jets veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been in training camp for a few days now, but faced his first real challenge on Sunday and he passed with flying colors.
There’s nothing quite like the first day of pads. It’s a pivotal moment for every NFL franchise during each offseason.
It’s a time and place in which the boys are separated from the men.
Bridgewater suffered one of the most gruesome knee injuries we have ever seen. To be specific, he suffered a dislocated knee, a torn ACL, and other structural damage which caused an emergency situation with the Minnesota Vikings where he was rushed to the hospital.
That injury possibly could’ve made walking impossible for Teddy, let alone returning to the football field. But against all odds, he has completed the comeback. Well … sort of.
According to all reports, he impressed in the spring and in non-contact drills early on in training camp. But those were non-contact. (It’s almost like when players blow up at the annual NFL Combine.) That’s great and all, but it’s only in a t-shirt and shorts. The real proof of the pudding is in real game situations and in pads.
For Teddy, that came on Sunday with the Jets. With only two quarterbacks currently in camp (Josh McCown and the aforementioned Bridgewater), there were plenty of reps to go around. That is, of course, because rookie quarterback Sam Darnold hasn’t reported to camp yet due to a contract dispute. A bit unusual considering the new CBA rules as it regards to rookie contracts, but that means more reps for the other two quarterbacks on the team.
Head coach Todd Bowles hasn’t been worried about the number of reps that Teddy and Josh are eating at this point, but did reveal the team has a backup plan if things continue to get crazy on the Darnold front.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini said it was “an uneven day for both quarterbacks,” but Bridgewater ended practice with a beautiful fade to wide receiver Tre McBride for a diving catch in the back of the end zone. Oh yeah, and he also remained healthy while getting in some great work with the team.
It seems like most pundits have already written Bridgewater’s fate. Teddy will either really impress in camp (the longer Darnold stays out the better for him) and he will be sold off to the highest bidder, a team that likely suffers a quarterback injury in camp. (Ironically, that would be the same thing that happened to Teddy back with the Vikings via the Sam Bradford trade.)
Or on the other end of the spectrum, he’ll be released due to either poor performance or his knee just gives out.
But I believe that there’s a third option. Teddy is the best quarterback of the bunch Allow Sam Darnold to develop off the bench while Josh McCown does what he does best and mentors the guys as a quasi-coach on the sideline.
Obviously, the primary plan is for Sam Darnold to inevitably come in sooner rather than later and he wins the job and everyone lives happily ever after. Until that happens, the New York Jets will continue to ride the Teddy and Josh train: not a bad backup option at all.