With two days of training camp in the books, Denver Broncos veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is beginning to establish himself. Meanwhile, Bridgewater is battling it out with Drew Lock to determine who will start under center for the Broncos in 2021.
Although it's fair to say that Lock won the first day, Teddy was the more consistent quarterback. Bridgewater just failed to connect on a few big-play opportunities on Day 1 while Lock did, with gusto, after a slower start to practice.
Day 2 saw 'Steady Teddy' continue to be that consistent presence at quarterback while Lock was much more up-and-down compared to Wednesday. Lock did finish the day relatively strong with a few red-zone touchdown passes but Bridgewater emerged from Day 2 as the winner at QB.
Bridgewater believes he can win this battle with Lock and that he belongs as the Broncos' starting quarterback. Now on his fifth NFL team since being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in Round 1 back in 2014, Bridgewater has cultivated a mindset strong enough to overcome the adversity he's currently facing.
In what was the best player quote of training camp thus far, Teddy expounded on what that mindset is.
“I’m a survivor. Throw me in the jungle, and I’m going to come out with a fur coat and a headband that I made out of some leaves (laughs). It’s about surviving at this point," Bridgewater said on Wednesday.
If Teddy fails to win the job, his view on that is that it's meant to be. He believes he should be The Guy, make no mistake, but he has a 'everything happens for a reason' philosophy.
"Every day, I have my fire that’s lit and it’s like God is placing me in different positions for a reason," Bridgewater said. "I’ve made an impact everywhere I’ve been—some on the field, some off the field. For me, this is an opportunity for me to come in and compete."
Regardless of which QB wins the job, the Broncos will field one of the NFL's youngest offenses balanced with one of the oldest defenses. Bridgewater views that dynamic through a kind of yin-and-yang prism.
"We have the third-youngest offense in the league and the fourth-oldest defense," Bridgewater said. "When we combine the two, it’s a ton of wisdom but some inexperience. When you can come in and gel and mesh the way we have so far, I feel like that’s my purpose—to keep things together and perform on the football field.”
Considering that Teddy is entering his eighth NFL season, he's among those vets who've begun to store up a fair amount of wisdom. The difference between intelligence and wisdom is experience.
Bridgewater has some wisdom to his game, as evidenced by how he's approaching each and every rep and practice: with a purpose.
“Honestly, I’m just practicing with purpose," Bridgewater said. "Practicing with purpose and having purpose when you come out here. I tell the guys when we break it down, ‘Let’s make sure every rep has a purpose.’ There’s a lesson in every rep. There’s a lesson in everything you do. When I’m out there, it’s one play at a time. I make sure I maximize it and have purpose.”
It's not hard to see how players can get swept up in Bridgewater's natural leadership. He oozes it with every word and with every deed out on the grass, whether it's in-rep or in between.
But it takes more than leadership to win one of the most coveted jobs in all of professional sports and have the privilege of being one of just 32 quarterbacks with a starting job. Bridgewater will have to continue to prove that he can master the other intellectual component of being a starter (so far so good with the playbook) and show that physically, he can make sure the sausage gets made on gameday just as well as Lock.
The Broncos are just getting started with training camp. The team's QB battle is still in its infancy. When it comes to the newcomer under center, Bridgewater has made a very strong first impression, putting the onus on Lock to figure out how to tame all that wild athletic talent and be a more consistent signal-caller on the field.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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