Matt Rhule Says Teddy Bridgewater Reminds Him of Eli Manning

Schuyler Callihan

For some fans, it has been difficult for them to move on from the fact that Cam Newton will not be leading the charge in Carolina after being released in late March.

New head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady had who they believed to be the perfect guy in mind to replace Newton, Teddy Bridgewater, and were able to pry him away from the Panthers’ divisional rival New Orleans.

Over the last couple of years, Bridgewater has sat and learned behind Drew Brees and even had to fill in as the Saints’ starter during Brees' injury that sidelined him for five games. As you probably know by now, Bridgewater went a perfect 5-0 in those five starts and kept the Saints at the top of the NFC South. He proved that he still has the ability to lead a franchise despite being years removed from being a full-time starter after multiple knee injuries. 

Earlier this week, Matt Rhule met with the media and talked about how impressed he has been with his starting quarterback and how he reminds him of a former star quarterback in the league. 

"You'll see really quickly that he's really intelligent in two ways. I listen to him in meetings where he'll run the meeting and he'll run the plus protection meeting and the level of not even detail, but the understanding and reasoning behind it is so high. Like when I was with Eli Manning, I use to sit there and listen to everything he would say because he was so intelligent and to hear Teddy it reminded me of that. Like it punches you in the face with wow that's really intelligent and you can see how people just kind of stop and listen to him. The second thing is, I think he's great at reading people. I think he's doing a great job of figuring out who on this team can I trust? Who on this coaching staff can I trust? My interactions with him have been awesome. I think he's going to be a guy that our team goes to battle for."

Will Bridgewater ever see the same level of success as Eli? That's to be determined. But the fact that he has earned such high praise from not only Rhule, but Joe Brady goes to show that he has the ability to lead this team. 

"He makes everybody better. He lights up the room, he's intelligent. His football IQ is through the roof," Brady stated. "When we have a day like this, we're like Teddy, you're running the meetings. I think that's critical having a guy that understands a good amount of the system and what we're doing, but also has an idea of football and being able to explain it and teach it to others."

These comments from the coaching staff are a pleasing sign for Panthers fans especially during these unprecedented times. Having a new coaching staff, new quarterback, and new offensive and defensive personnel can be a scary sight in a normal year, let alone a year in which a pandemic is taking place. Fortunately, Bridgewater has familiarity with Brady's system and understands the verbiage and philosophy, which is why he is able to run the virtual meetings. Since Bridgewater is taking full reign of the offense and showing leadership along with his complex football IQ, Matt Rhule has to feel a little bit more comfortable heading into the season.

Do you think Teddy Bridgewater will have a big year in 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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