Bridgewater explains decisions, criticisms

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater explained why he didn't wear a glove for his pro day and his reaction to the criticisms. But between his pro day explanation and other factors, should the Vikings be wary of him as an outdoor quarterback in the cold?

Teddy Bridgewater didn't have a very strong pro day. Anyone that watched him miss badly on several throws at Louisville last week would have to agree it wasn't a good showing.

Whether it's a reaction to the pro day performance or previously scheduled appearances, Bridgewater made his way to several national television interviews in the week since. He has spent time with former NFL coach Jon Gruden as part of ESPN's "Quarterback Camp" and took time for NFL Network.

His reaction to his pro day, and the reaction to his performance, were big parts of both segments. In both of them, he blamed the glove – or lack of it – along with the weather conditions at Louisville that day.

In college, he wore a glove, but he apparently wanted to try to get away from using one in the NFL. He is reversing field on that decision after his pro day performance.

"I was training down in Florida. It was 80-degree weather, sunny outside, so I was letting the ball spin without the glove and I just felt confident going into the pro day," he told NFL Network. "I trust my training. I'm always confident in my training, so going into competition I trust preparation. So I went back to Louisville and the weather changed, it was a little cold outside, the ball gets a little rough and I still decided to go without the glove."

While the glove issue can be overplayed, it is relevant for the Vikings with them playing their next two seasons outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium while their new stadium is under construction, slated for opening in July 2016.

"From this day forward, I'm going to do what got me here, and that's wearing a glove," Bridgewater said. "I was able to learn that from the pro day, that continue to do what you're comfortable doing, continue to do what got you in this situation in the first place. I've been wearing gloves the past three years so I'll get back into the glove business."

Of course, hand size could have something to do with that. Anyone that saw Brett Favre in person might have noticed his 10-3/8-inch hand size. Daunte Culpepper (on the other hand) had his hand size measured at 9-½ inches at the 1999 NFL Scouting Combine, and fans often criticized his small hands.

Bridgewater had his hand size measured at 9-1/4 at the Scouting Combine in February, as did Jimmy Garoppolo. Those were the two smallest measurements of the quarterbacks typically valued as first- or second-round draft prospects in 2014. Blake Bortles was 9-3/8, Zach Mettenberger at 9-3/4, Johnny Manziel 9-7/8 and A.J. McCarron proudly tweeted his hand size out at an even 10 inches, the biggest among the QB class at the Combine.

If Bridgewater was looking for ideal conditions to impress NFL coaches and scouts, he had that opportunity at the Scouting Combine, but Blake Bortles was the only one of those considered first-round prospects that threw in there in February.

"I'm still confident. I feel that we made that decision and it was a smart decision knowing that going into pro day I would be able to throw to some of my guys that I was able to throw at the University of Louisville," Bridgewater said. "Coming out of both the Combine and pro day, I'm still confident and I'm still happy that I made that decision."

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner was on the field watching the participating quarterbacks throw at the Combine and he was there watching Bridgewater throw at his pro day.

Bridgewater said he tunes out the criticism of his pro day, but he still holds high expectations for himself in the NFL.

"Basically I grew up watching Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and those guys. But I told myself that I want to be something that the NFL has yet to see," he said. "I want to be a guy that can run like Michael Vick, accurate with the football like Drew Brees, decisive decision-maker like Peyton Manning, someone who is a winner like Tom Brady, a competitor like Tom Brady, and then someone who has the big arm like Aaron Rodgers. The list goes on and on, but I just want to continue to just apply what those guys do in their games to my game."

In reality, it might all be hyper-analysis, but that's what NFL scouts are paid to do – gather all the information to try to make the best decision. However, what shouldn't be discounted is what happened during the 2013 season, when Bridgewater had the highest completion percentage (71) and lowest interception percentage (0.94) of any of the top-rated quarterbacks.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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