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Can Bridgewater Deliver Again in Backup Capacity?

Veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will make his first start for the Miami Dolphins in Week 5
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There's a reason the Miami Dolphins gave quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a fully guaranteed $6.5 million contract to sign with them in the offseason.

It's for situations just like the one in which they find themselves. And it's because Bridgewater has delivered in exactly this kind of situation.

"I like Teddy (Bridgewater) a lot, man," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "He’s an experienced guy and has been at a couple of different stops throughout this league. To just kind of be thrown in there is something that I think his career has kind of prepared him for. He’s got a lot of experience, and I trust him back there a lot. I think he’s got everything it takes to continue to keep this thing rolling for us.”

Bridgewater already has made two appearances for the Dolphins this season, replacing Tua Tagovailoa for three players against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 and then coming in late in the second quarter of the 27-15 Thursday night loss at Cincinnati in Week 4.

While Bridgewater's number in those two games, including a 77.6 passer rating, might not inspire a ton of confidence, there's a big difference between coming off the bench in the middle of a game as opposed to having a full week of practice to prepare as the starter.

"I can speak for the team, offense and defense and special teams, we’re very, very confident in Teddy Bridgewater," head coach Mike McDaniel said. "It’s one of the reasons you decide to go that direction in an offseason and prioritize your backup quarterback is for these moments. We went out and signed him, and it’s been one of the better things that could have happened to us for the team’s dynamic, for his contribution in how Tua is playing and his ability to play, as well as his part in the development of Skylar (Thompson). So he’s had a big role.

"Everyone is super confident in him. He’s done it before. It’s a different deal coming off the bench than starting. Teddy knows that and he’ll be fully prepared and ready to go. I don’t think that the team will bat an eye when we lace them up on Sunday.”

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FOR EVEN MORE COVERAGE ON THE MIAMI DOLPHINS, CHECK OUT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S MIAMI DOLPHINS PAGE ON SI.COM.

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BRIDGEWATER HAS IMPRESSIVE RESUME AS SPOT STARTER

Indeed, Bridgewater has done it before when it comes to serving as a backup and then having to step because of an injury to the starter.

And he did that beautifully in 2019 when he was the backup behind Drew Brees and a thumb injury sidelined the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

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The Saints were 1-1 after losing against the L.A. Rams in Week 2 and then had to deal with a road trip to Seattle against Russell Wilson and a Seahawks team that was 2-0 and headed for the second of three consecutive playoff appearances.

No worries.

Bridgewater went 19-for-27 for 177 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.7 passer rating in helping the Saints leave Seattle with a 33-27 victory.

Bridgewater never stopped.

He started five games for the Saints that year before Brees returned from his injury, and the Saints won all of them.

During those five games, Bridgewater completed 69.7 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 103.7.

Even at the start of his career, Bridgewater showed the same kind of ability to deliver after taking over for an injured starter.

As a rookie first-round pick for the Vikings in 2014, Bridgewater began the season behind veteran Matt Cassel before Cassel was sidelined by a toe injury.

Bridgewater took over as the start in Week 3 and went 19-for-30 for 317 yards and a 98.9 to help Minnesota defeat Atlanta, 41-28. While he sustained an ankle injury and would have to miss Week 4, Bridgewater became the Vikings starter that day.

BRIDGEWATER'S CAREER COMING FULL CIRCLE

He would be the start again in 2015 before his catastrophic knee injury in August of 2016 pretty much cost him the next two seasons.

After serving as Brees' backup in New Orleans in 2018 and 2019, Bridgewater started for Carolina in 2020 and for Denver in 2021 before assuming his role with the Dolphins.

And now he finds himself with a chance to show exactly why the Dolphins wanted to bring him back to his hometown for the 2022 season.

“I’ve seen from Teddy what I’ve seen all training camp, all season really, which is just a guy who loves to play," defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said. "He’s a really good teammate, a competitor. And he was able to do some good things. So, yeah, I’m excited for him moving forward and we’ve all got his back as he does what he needs to do.”