Former Chargers pass-rusher Shawne Merriman, who spent a half-decade harrassing Broncos quarterbacks, has thoughts on Denver's current signal-caller — none of them kind.
"Horsesh-t. I don’t think I've ever seen a lack of effort in the NFL that bad," Merriman said in a recent interview with Gambling.com.
The artist previously known as "Lights Out" is, of course, referencing Bridgewater's egregious non-tackle attempt during last Sunday's blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. In case you missed it: Bridgewater made a conscious business decision not to stop Eagles cornerback Darius Slay amid an 82-yard fumble-return touchdown, failing to so much as step into Slay's path.
The score punctuated a stunning 30-13 home defeat, after which Bridgewater joked to Slay that "you know I can't tackle you."
But, Merriman believes, there's nothing humorous about Teddy quitting on the play, a conclusion most arrive at when watching the film.
"They can’t have the whole team together while they watch that clip," he said. "I couldn’t imagine walking around that locker room and not saying something to him."
In his postgame press conference, Bridgewater justified the lack of effort by insisting he tried forcing Slay to cut back inside, hoping it would slow him long enough for other Broncos to corral the streaking defender.
The following day, however, upon receiving an apparent tongue-lashing from head coach Vic Fangio, Teddy took a different tone — one of culpability and reconciliation.
"Coach pointed out that my effort had to be better there. I totally agree," Bridgewater admitted to reporters Monday. "That’s not the type of tape that I want to put out there. It’s one of those situations where you get pissed after you watch it because you know how much this game means to you. Guys are out there trying to make a play. You feel like you have a little help running towards the sideline and you try to force a cut back. In real time, it feels like everything is happening fast—let’s force a cutback. But when you slow it down, it’s like, ‘Man, just give more effort.’ You watch it and you walk away from it pissed at yourself. Credit Slay—he made a great play also. It’s one of those deals where we have guys that were trying to make the tackle. I just needed to lay it all out for the guys in that moment.”
Despite what the tape shows, Bridgewater appears to have mended relations with his fellow teammates and coaches. The 29-year-old will remain Denver's starting QB coming out of the Week 11 bye, Fangio announced, accepting the mea culpa.
Others ... well, didn't. And won't.
“I’d bench his a--,” former Jets HC Rex Ryan said Monday on ESPN's Get Up. “You’re not Peyton Manning, dude. You got two gloves. Go tackle his a--.”
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