Thursday, May 15, 2014

National Friday League: I believe!

Here are all the things you'll want to read to become a believer, written before and after the Vikings took Teddy Bridgewater.

Bill Barnwell's "Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles?" and his reaction to the draft, "A First-Round Fiesta."

Sharon Katz' "Bridgewater aces new accuracy stats"

Ty Schalter's "Film Study Shows NFL Teams Doubting Teddy Bridgewater Will Be Flat Wrong."

Football Outsiders' "Audibles: 2014NFL Draft Day One"

Matt Waldman's "Futures: Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater."

bobshabaz' "2014 NFL  Draft: In defense of Teddy Bridgewater."

At this point, you have one a major dilemma. Will you name any future pets and kids "Bridgewater," or "Teddy"? Because the Vikings now have a head coach whose career as a defensive coordinator has been well-respected and productive (check out the Bengals' ranks in yards allowed, points allowed, and net pass yards per attempt allowed in the last three seasons and four of the last five). And now they have a quarterback with a realistic shot at being a franchise guy, who was available as late as he was for perplexing reasons that make the Vikings look very, very lucky right now. That combination has me dreaming of seeing the Vikings competing for Super Bowls. Of course the Vikings actually playing in the Super Bowl is only in my dreams, because I've never actually seen it.

The Vikings have never had what I always call "a fifteen year quarterback." A fifteen year quarterback is a guy who spends almost his entire career with one team, from a very early stage of his career to a very late stage (it doesn't have to be literally 15 years). To do that, he has to be very, very good. Most of the fifteen year quarterbacks are All-Time greats. Others (though fewer) are very good players that have proven to their team that the team can win and even compete for titles with him at QB. A QB just doesn't stay with one team that long unless his team has won with him. The Vikes had Fran Tarkenton, of course, but his Viking career was split into two terms, the scrappy expansion years and the Super Bowl losing years. In between he played for a different team (and don't forget, the Vikes made their first Super Bowl when Tarkenton was in New York). He's the franchise's best QB, but he wasn't a fifteen year quarterback.

This might be it. At this point believing might be more than wishful thinking: plenty of really smart analysts are trying to convince me Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal (side note: there's reason to be skeptical when Mike Mayock starts talking about abstractions of a QB's personality like the "'it' factor." After all, it was Mayock's "gut" that told him he wasn't sure how good Cam Newton wants to be, admitting that it was without any evidence: "He's saying and doing all the right things," Mayock observed, and yet he said "something tells me he'll be content to be a multi-millionaire whose pretty good." Far be it from me to speculate on the "something" in Mayock's "gut," but it might be time for him to take a break from using his subjective emotional response to a quarterback's personality in his evaluation process. The only "it" factor I care about right now is the ability to throw a football accurately and to make smart passes against pressure, anyway).

The thing is, we'll probably know as soon as Bridgewater gets a chance to play. For a variety of reasons we can speculate on, in recent years, good quarterbacks have been immediately good as rookies (Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, for example. Even Andy Dalton was mostly what he is as a rookie. These guys can and do improve, of course, but they showed what they were right away), and it seems like we don't as often see a QB that struggles as a rookie eventually actually be good (who is a recent bad rookie who became a decent QB? Probably Matthew Stafford).


  1. I've read four of the linked articles so far and my hopes are soaring.

    Uh oh.

    1. Peter:

      Yes. Time to reign in the enthusiasm. You are a Vikings fan after all.

  2. I'm in! I haven't had a Minnesota themed pet since my dog Kirby. We can't be cursed forever.

    Could this be another Aaron Rodgers situation? Very similar storyline, sorry if this has already been mentioned. How long did he sit, 2 years? Then another 2 years before he was elite? Let's say best case scenario he's good enough to win playoff games in year 3 or 4. Does Peterson have 4 good years left in him?


    1. Teddy will be starting day 1. Teddy can read defenses, Can go through his progression, Played and learned pro set at the age of 17 at Louisville. Teddy has the commitment to put in the work to be the best QB. Teddy is calm and cool in the pocket with pressure and the best thing for Teddy is to get game experience, Sitting on the bench is not going to help Teddy improve, Has the mental set, to start and not let anything get him down on his self. Playing Teddy will give him the experience of game speed and rush his progress along. Teddy just might be able to play a lot better than most people give him credit for, Wouldn't surprise me to see Teddy lead the Vikings to the division Championship and maybe a rookie QB winning the SUPERBOWL.

    2. I'm with you that he's starting season one at some point, but even if he's a fifteen year franchise QB we may not know for sure until year 3 or 4. Remember the Sanchize?

    3. ETR:

      Your talk of Sanchez made me go back and check his stats. In years 2 and 3 his pass yardage and TD/INT ratio were OK, but his completion percentage was terrible by today's standards. Nothing higher than 56%, which should have concerned all Jets fans. I think if Teddy is a 15-year guy, we'll know fairly quickly.