When Teddy Bridgewater finally vanquished Drew Lock, many thought the long ball would be off the Denver Broncos' menu. Arm strength is not one of Bridgewater’s most obvious strengths, and with Lock’s cannon now confined to the sidelines, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur might be inclined to dial up a ‘dink and dunk’ type attack to suit his new starting quarterback.
Bridgewater was full of positive vibes when he went through his now trademark opening statement on Wednesday, but afterward, he dropped a much juicier nugget, revealing that the long ball most certainly remains in the playbook.
“Yeah, it’s a huge chance and it’s a huge opportunity in this offense,” Bridgewater said. “We have guys who can bring that spark, that big-play ability to games, and we want to make sure that when we call them, we hit them.”
Given the variety of strengths the Broncos' receiving corps possesses, it’s not surprising the hear a bullish Bridgewater on the subject of taking shots downfield. Taking the top off a defense, or at the very least, keeping defenders on their heels, will be essential should opposing defensive coordinators stack the box and force Teddy to beat them.
With that in mind, the former Louisville star is extremely confident that he has the weapons to stretch the field when need be especially having seen first-hand what the group can do this offseason.
“This unit that we have here with the group of receivers that we have, you watch throughout training camp and preseason games, we’re hitting big plays and that’s the thing I love about, this team,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a group of guys that all have a unique skill-set and if we need a guy to catch a ball 50 yards down the field, if we need a guy to catch a slant on 3rd-and-1, we need a guy to go in and block in the run game—all those guys can do different things. When you combine all that talent in a room it could be a nightmare for defenses, but at the same time, we’ve got to continue to put the work in to get to that stage.”
Denver's array of weaponry hasn't gone unnoticed around the league either. New York Giants head coach Joe Judge lavished some serious praise on the Broncos' receiving corps on Wednesday, opining that it might be the top unit in the league.
Even allowing for a certain amount of pre-game brinkmanship on his part, the fact remains that Denver's receiving corps has the perfect mix of speed and power to truly strike fear into cornerbacks and safeties this season.
And let's not forget the piece de resistance — Courtland Sutton — who's been champing at the bit to return to glory after a 2020 season lost to a torn ACL. Following the Broncos' preseason finale vs. the L.A. Rams in which Sutton caught a touchdown pass from Bridgewater, seeing the rust fall off in chunks, the veteran signal-caller recognized something different in his one-and-only Pro Bowl receiver.
“I saw a side of 'Court' (WR Courtland Sutton) that I had never seen," Bridgewater said. "He's a dog. He's out there and his energy is contagious. I'm on the sideline and I might have missed him on a throw, and he comes up to me like, 'Nah, man. We got this. Trust me. You know I'm going make a play, they can't check me.' That confidence—and of course in practice you tone things down a little bit—but to see it on gameday, it's like, man, let's get this guy to Sunday because he's going to lay it all on the line for the team. I have all the trust in the world in 'Court' and that entire room.”
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