Everyone loves storylines. It adds some extra sizzle to any ordinary matchup.
We all know the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and in Week 3 that’ll once again be the main storyline to pay attention to in this AFC conference clash.
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Sweet Vengeance at Mile High
Teddy Bridgewater has had a very interesting NFL career to date.
He was once a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings and was the promised prince. Then a devastating leg injury put not only his football future in doubt but his ability to walk.
After an excruciating rehab, he finally made his return to the gridiron and the Jets provided a new opportunity.
He signed a one-year deal on March 18, 2018, and then over five months later he was traded to the New Orleans Saints at the end of August for a 2019 third round-draft choice.
While his stay with the Jets was short, it was impactful. Bridgewater was a great presence in the locker room and he regained the confidence he once had as a former first-round pick.
The Jets had their guy in Sam Darnold (who was entering his rookie season at the time after being the No. 3 overall pick) and Bridgewater then had a chance to be a long-term answer somewhere else.
A few Jets fans have been chiming in this week that they wish “the team would’ve stuck with Bridgewater instead.”
Just to use this pulpit to address that misconception among the fanbase. Even if the Jets wouldn’t have traded Bridgewater, he would’ve never re-signed with the Jets following the 2018 season. Darnold was clearly the starter for the present and future.
While in New Orleans, Bridgewater re-signed there because he believed there was a chance he could eventually replace Drew Brees.
After two years in New Orleans, he showed enough during his limited opportunities to warrant a big-money deal when he reached free agency again.
That came way in the same division when the Carolina Panthers shelled out $63 million over three years.
After an uneven year in 2020: 15 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and a 4-11 record as a starting quarterback, the experiment was over.
This offseason he was dealt to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-rounder in a move most people overlooked.
Then this offseason he beat out the incumbent Drew Lock and has looked like a man reborn.
Teddy Has Evolved to a New Level
Throughout his career, Bridgewater has been labeled a “check down guy.” Someone that played things safe and rarely attempted deep passes.
For context here are some career numbers that reaffirm that: 67% completion percentage and only 36 interceptions in seven seasons.
Old face in a new place has completely flipped the script on that narrative.
Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, no quarterback has attempted more 20+ yard passes down the field than Bridgewater.
That’ll be a unique challenge this current Jets defense hasn’t faced yet this season (Sam Darnold, Mac Jones).
Although that also presents a unique opportunity for this Jets defense to get their pass rush cranking.
If someone is attempting deep shots, that means that quarterback has to hold onto the football longer, which opens up a bigger window to sack said passer.
Bridgewater doesn’t turn the ball over. This season he has zero interceptions so far and that makes the turnover battle that much more paramount.
The Jets need to make sure that they handle business on their own end. Expect a very conservative game plan offensively for the green and white as they look to rein rookie Zach Wilson in.
If the rookie implodes, the green and white have no chance of winning. Although if they can execute and move the ball offensively and pin their ears back on defense, that could be the perfect recipe for an upset.