Most of the early buzz surrounding Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has focused on his leadership and decision-making capabilities. His mobility is something that perhaps surprised some fans when it leaped out from Bridgewater's Week 1 game-tape, especially after his feet frequently extended plays and helped put points on the board.
Provided the 28-year-old can stay healthy, and sustain that level of production, the wild card factor will provide Bridgewater’s coaches with another spell with which to conjure against opposing defenses. On Thursday, Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur revealed his lack of surprise in his starter being so effective in escaping pressure and making plays with his feet.
“I wasn’t surprised by anything Teddy did,” Shurmur said on Friday. “Again, I’ve got history with Teddy, so I know what he brings to the game and there were a couple of times there where a play started to play out in not quite the way we had recognized, and he made a play. That’s part of Teddy’s charm is that he can make a play.”
The ever-increasing emphasis on the passing game has seen many NFL teams become more reliant on free-wheeling quarterbacks who can pull rabbits out of hats on busted plays. While Teddy might not exactly fit in that bracket, he still has enough natural athleticism to get out of trouble and make plays downfield.
Shurmur believes that Bridgewater has an intangible attribute you can’t directly put a finger on — a real feel for the game that allows him to defy his physical limitations and make things happen.
“I think here’s an innate ability to do that and this is three-dimensional—it’s oblique,” Shurmur said. “There are a lot of ways to see things and make things happen and some guys just have a feel for when things are breaking down. Teddy’s not the fastest guy on the planet but he sure can be elusive, and he knows when to get down.”
Self-preservation is an underestimated art form for the league’s top signal-callers and it will prove crucial if Bridgewater is to avoid the kind of serious injuries that threatened his career early on. What is becoming more obvious, especially now that he is the starter, is how his pocket feel put him at a significant advantage over Drew Lock for Denver's starting job.
“He knows how to get yardage and the way he maneuvers the pocket gives him the best chance to keep a play alive. It’s natural,” Shurmur detailed. “A lot of it has been trained but when you train it over many, many years then it becomes somewhat innate, and I think he’s got that ability.”
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