To start the 2021 regular season, Teddy Bridgewater has led the Broncos to victories over Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones and Jaguars' star Trevor Lawrence.
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Bridgewater is excelling with the Broncos so far, throwing for a total of 592 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It's very early in the season, but Bridgewater is having the best year of his career when it comes to completion percentage (77.1) and yards per game (296).
"He’s a guy that’s historically been known as a high percentage guy. Short and intermediate passes," Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said this week. "For the first time, he’s pushing the ball. I feel like for the real first time there’s a concerted effort to throw deeper. It’s going to test us, it’s going to be a great test for us, for sure."
Ulbrich referenced his experience in the NFC South, watching Bridgewater during his time with the Saints and Panthers. Last year, the 28-year-old set a career-high with 3,733 passing yards and 15 touchdown passes over 15 games with Carolina, his first full season since 2015 with the Minnesota Vikings.
This year, Bridgewater is utilizing his weapons in Denver, like wideouts Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick along with tight end Noah Fant. With someone that knows how to effectively use checkdowns, however, the Jets can't forget about running backs Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams coming out of the backfield.
"He's been consistent. Everything that we've seen from him in the past," linebacker C.J. Mosley told reporters. "He's a smart quarterback, he's not going to force the ball down the field, but when he does have shots, he will take it."
As much as expectations were low for New York's secondary, considering how many inexperienced defensive backs are getting playing time, the Jets have been solid through the first two weeks of the year. Gang Green is 10th in the league entering play on Sunday with an average of just 214.5 passing yards allowed per game.
Bridgewater isn't a quarterback this group can afford to underestimate, though. Head coach Robert Saleh explained that his unit needs to play sound football all game long. Only then will they have a shot for their first win of the season.
"I have so much respect for his game. I think he’s one of the more underrated starters in this league," Saleh said of Bridgewater. "He gets rid of the ball really fast, he’s a very, very good decision maker, he’s very accurate, he outs the ball where it needs to be, and he can move a little bit. It’s going to be a challenge in terms of trying to eliminate the explosives with these guys, they’re explosive all over the football field on offense, but it’s a challenge we’re up for."