The Denver Broncos are sitting at 2-0 in this young season after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-13. It was a bit of an ugly game for the Broncos, but they were able to get the job done against an inferior team.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, in his second start with the Broncos, was excellent yet again. He finished the day 26-of-34 for 328 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
In today's film room (we are going to make this a weekly film room now), I dive into the game of Bridgewater and his strong performance against the Jaguars.
One thing that is always talked about with quarterbacks is how they anticipate passes. Anticipation is essentially when a quarterback knows where a route is going, understands that his receiver has the leverage to win, and throws the ball before his receiver is fully open.
To excel in this area, a quarterback has to be confident in his process and in his ability to make a throw to a spot, rather than a throw to an open player. Bridgewater is exuding confidence at the moment, and his play has been top-notch as a result.
One example I grabbed from Jacksonville was on this quick hitch to Kendall Hinton. I paused the video when Bridgewater begins to release the ball. Notice how Hinton still has his back turned to the line of scrimmage, yet Bridgewater releases the ball, because he understands that his receiver has the right leverage to win the route.
Aggressively Refuting 'Check-Down' Reputation
Bridgewater has built up a bit of a reputation in the league as a check-down quarterback. The version of him that has shown up to the 2021 Broncos is certainly not that. Through two games, he is tied with Russell Wilson for second in the NFL in total air yards on his throws.
It all comes back to that confidence with him. Teddy is trusting his reads, and his arm, to make these aggressive throws down the field. This next play isn't a completion, but it is the perfect way to illustrate that mindset.
Bridgewater reads that the Jaguars are in cover-two, and he recognizes that he has KJ Hamler on a vertical route. Rather than playing it safe, Bridgewater throws the hole shot in between the corner and safety, and he gives Hamler a chance to make a play. He leaves it a bit too high, but this aggressiveness is what you want to see from your quarterback.
As a quarterback nerd who spent all summer studying mechanics of the position, it is very refreshing to watch Bridgewater's film. He doesn't have an incredible arm or great velocity on his throws, but he is almost always mechanically sound in the pocket.
This play is a great example of how he works to align his feet. He has a couple of options from the pocket on this throw and it is easy to see his chain of progressions. What I love to see is how he stays loose on his feet and works to align himself to each progression he makes. It helps him maintain accuracy and velocity for when he finally does find his target, Courtland Sutton, on the deep dig route.
Finally, the Broncos connected on a deep pass in this game. There were a few near misses early in the game, but Bridgewater was able to hit Sutton for a 55-yard gain in the third quarter.
The stars aligned for the Broncos to hit deep on this play. It is a designed shot play with max protection after the play-action. As soon as the safety trails the crossing route underneath, Bridgewater knows he has one on one coverage with his top target. He does leave this ball a tad short, but he puts enough air under it for his star player to make a play.
After an offseason filled with speculation (and a lot of talking), the Broncos have had really good quarterback play through two games in the 2021 season. The jury is still ultimately out on the sustainability of this offense (and how it will perform against a good team), but it is hard to complain about the result at the moment.
Bridgewater hasn't been perfect, but he has been pretty close. He is playing smart, aggressive football and the Broncos are winning games as a result.
Teddy is operating this offense at a high level at the moment. With another fairly good matchup coming up in Week 3 against the New York Jets, I fully expect him to continue his hot start.
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