Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked by the Denver Broncos defense seven times and either hit or hurried on numerous other occasions during that team’s last game. It could easily get frustrating for a quarterback, but Bridgewater isn’t the type of player who will complain.
He never points fingers or tries to blame his teammates for missing a block – if anything he is usually blaming himself, saying he needs to get the ball out faster. That goes a long way in regards of how his offensive linemen view him and the second-year quarterback has really earned their respect since taking over as the team’s starter. The way that Bridgewater always handles himself actually seems to make the offensive line want block even better for him.
“Teddy, I love that guy,” offensive guard Mike Harris said. “He never points the finger, never loses his composure. With Teddy, as offensive linemen we have to keep him up. I know this week he have some good pass rushers on the edges. T.J. (Clemmings), Matt (Kalil), they have a big challenge. Me as a guard, we really have to keep the pocket pressed up and see if Teddy can step up and make those throws downfield. At receiver, we do have the weapons. If we can get the ball out to those guys we can do a lot of work, cause a lot of damage for defenses. As an offensive line this week, we took last week as a lesson. Just got to go out and play.”
Not only has the way Bridgewater deflects blame from his teammates to himself earned the respect of his teammates, but so has his toughness on the field. Coming out of college, some questioned if Bridgewater’s 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame would be able to stand the punishment of an NFL schedule.
With 16 games under his belt, it seems as though he has proven that it can since the only game he missed was because he twisted his ankle while making a cut on a non-contact play.
The fact that he can get sacked seven times, not to mention the other hits he took, and still continue to get up and play proves how tough of a player he is. That type of toughness has earned the respect of his offensive linemen in front of him, the players who take the biggest beating each and every game.
“Teddy is a warrior,” said guard Brandon Fusco. “He’s a positive guy. No matter what happens he’s going to forget about the last play and move onto the next. So if one of us messes up, we’re going to be up there the next play and make sure to protect him and do our job. We have all the trust in him and he’s a great quarterback.”
As the quarterback on the team Bridgewater is automatically thrust into a leadership role. Some players have trouble being placed into that role, but Bridgewater appears to be thriving in it.
Even as a second-year player, he has earned the respect of veterans such as Joe Berger who has been in the NFL for 11 years.
“Teddy’s a great quarterback; he’s great to have in the huddle,” Berger said. “He’s always positive, just a great leader for us.
“I think as a quarterback you’re put into that role and he’s embraced it. He has taken a leadership role. We all look up to him in the huddle as the leader and he’s embraced it.”