Bridgewater Is Back; Teddy Shines In Jets Debut

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to a starting quarterback.

Two years have gone by without significant action from Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy made his New York Jets debut on Friday night in New York’s preseason opener and played lights out.

Bridgewater displayed why he could be a viable starting quarterback for the Jets or any NFL team in need of a quarterback. Yes, it was a preseason game, so there is no need to go overboard. Nevertheless, there were flashes that reminded NFL fans and Louisville Cardinal fans of Bridgewater’s capabilities.

“It was just a great experience for me and I am just excited,” Bridgewater told reporters after the 17-0 win over the Falcons. “That was the biggest takeaway from today. I am just very excited.”

Bridgewater took over the starting offense after a pedestrian three and out from Josh McCown. On Bridgewater’s first series, he proceeded to lead a 10-play 47-yard touchdown drive, capping with a touchdown pass to Isaiah Crowell for 16 yards. It was his first touchdown pass since August 28, 2016 in a preseason game for the Vikings against the Chargers.

On the touchdown, there was a post-wheel route combination occurring on the left side of the field, while there was a drag coming from Crowell on the right of the field. Bridgewater quickly identified that the Falcons were in cover-three. He allowed the play to develop, then demonstrated his pocket presence as he stepped up to avoid the rush, and threw the ball to Crowell in space to allow him to catch it on the run.

Overall, Bridgewater had a quarterback rating of 150.5, completed 7-of-8 passes for 85 yards, and threw a touchdown. Bridgewater led the Jets on two scoring drive while showing why he is a strong candidate for the starting quarterback spot.

“It felt good,” he said. “It felt good getting hit again. You never want the quarterback getting hit, but for me it was the final step of the process. Got hit, got right back up and it just served as a reminder that the game is still the same. It’s still a physical game and the hits still feel the same.”

Any lingering injury concerns about Bridgewater should cease. Bridgewater’s pocket presence was solid, and he was decisive with his decision-making. He was smooth on his drop backs and displayed some mobility that many thought, might have left him after his devastating injury.

Even though it is the preseason, NFL and Louisville fans should be optimistic about Bridgewater’s comeback. He is a pro bowl level quarterback in a league that is desperate for quarterback help.

Bridgewater currently finds himself in a quarterback battle with Josh McCown and Sam Darnold, but after the initial preseason game, it should be a two-man race.

Here are Bridgewater’s highlights from his debut.

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