Teddy Bridgewater remembers well what it is like to be a rookie quarterback. He knows exactly what quarterbacks like Jacksonville Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence are going through -- even if Bridgewater's first NFL start came 2,544 days and Lawrence's came this past Sunday.
"I think with the guys we’re facing these next two weeks; I think they welcome those expectations. They welcome the challenge, and you watch them, and they go out there and play, especially with Trevor this week," Bridgewater said about the Jaguars' first-year starter on Wednesday.
"When you get out there early as a rookie—luckily I had I think three games or something like that—but it happens fast. Yeah, you’re a rookie but to the other guys on the field, man, you’re a polished vet and the expectation level is so high."
Lawrence is just one game into his NFL career, making his NFL debut on the road in Houston. Bridgewater is on a completely different path and stage of his career, with Lawrence just starting his career as a top pick. Bridgewater is on his third team in four years, with the 2014 first-round pick moving onto Denver as a starter after starting 15 games for the Panthers a year ago.
But Bridgewater remembers the expectations placed on rookie quarterbacks. It wasn't long ago that the Minnesota Vikings turned to Bridgewater in Week 4 of their rookie season, with Bridgewater helping Minnesota win 41-28. He knows how much is on Lawrence's plate, even if he is set to be his foe this Sunday when the Jaguars and Broncos face off.
And while Lawrence entering Sunday's game with one start under his belt compared to Bridgewater's 50, the Broncos' veteran quarterback sees a lot to like in the No. 1 overall pick. He sees a quarterback that shouldn't be looked at as just another rookie.
"He’s a guy you can tell he’s a competitor. He has that it-factor and I’m pretty sure they don’t see him as a rookie," Bridgewater said.
"He’s a guy who they believe in, who can get the job done for them but for us we’ve got to make it about us. That’s our mindset—to make it about us. Do what we’ve got to do to slow down their offense, control their defense and win special teams.”
Lawrence completed 54.9% of his passes (28 of 51) in his NFL debut for 332 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. It was the first three-interception game of Lawrence's playing career, but Lawrence put his attention toward the Broncos on Wednesday. And just as Bridgewater is impressed by Lawrence, the Jaguars' rookie passer is impressed by Denver.
"This is still a big zone team, but more match principles, so they are really good athletes that can carry and play man. Their disguises are really good in the backend. Up front, they have the two linebackers. They’re really like d-ends but can drop, play coverage, Von Miller, Bradley Chubb," Lawrence said on Wednesday.
"They have a lot of other guys too that can roll in, but those two guys on the edge [have] great pass rush. They make it tough to break contain because they do such a good job setting the edge, and they have the coverage players too. They do a good job mixing it up in the secondary, showing you something pre-snap and changing it. We have a challenge in front of us for sure, but I feel like we had a great first day of prep and I like our plan so far.”