Since coming out of college, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been known as being an accurate passer. He proved that during his rookie season when he finished the year completing 64.4 percent of his passes, 11th in the NFL.
Through five games of the 2015 regular season, Bridgewater is once again completing 64.4 percent of his passes, currently ranked 16th in the NFL. While he has been solid a majority of the time, he seems to struggle hitting deep corner routes, where he tends to sail the ball over the receivers heads and out of bounds.
The quarterback didn’t seem too worried when asked about it, saying it is nothing he’s doing wrong mechanically. It’s just something he needs to improve on.
“Just continue to work at it,” he said. “Each week you come to practice, you just strive to get better. Fix those areas of weakness and try to make them strengths.”
Bridgewater’s offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, isn’t concerned by the overthrows either. He seems to think it is something that will always happen with quarterbacks, no matter how good they are. Players are never going to complete 100 percent of their passes and overthrowing a receiver and putting the ball out of bounds in those situations is a lot better than leaving it short and throwing an interception.
“He’s thrown a couple balls high,” Turner said. “I’ve been around some very good players that miss a thrown now or then. He’s thrown some balls to his left that he’s hit the guy right in the chin. Anything where we have a situation where we’re not completing balls, we look at it and we look at the protection, look at the route and then we look at the throw. I’m really excited about the way Teddy’s playing. I think he has a great understanding about what we have to do on offense to win and he’s really doing a good job of it.”
When throwing deep to his left his year, Bridgewater has completed 50 percent of his passes, ranking seventh in the NFL. When he throws deep to his right, that falls to 40 percent and ranks 16th in the NFL.
The thing that Turner likes to focus on, as opposed to Bridgewater’s overthrows, is the fact that they are developing a good balance in the passing game. Not only is Bridgewater throwing for a high completion percentage, but he is also getting completions downfield.
Take last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs for example. Bridgewater completed 17 passes during the game, but 10 of them were for 10 or more yards. The ability to stretch the field is something the Vikings want to be able to take advantage of when teams stack the box against Adrian Peterson and it appears they are proving they can do so.
“We’re getting big plays,” Turner said. “I think we had a 52-yarder on the first drive. We’re consistently getting plays over 20 yards. We’re still throwing at a high percentage and, obviously at home, we’ve done a great job protecting the quarterback. We’ve got to carry that over, starting this week, to when we go on the road.”
Bridgewater’s completion percentage gets better as the game goes on. In the first quarter of games this year, he has completed 58.97 percent of his passes in the first quarter, but that has increased with each quarter all the way up to 72.22 percent in the fourth quarter.
With many of Bridgewater’s inaccuracies coming while he is under duress, you can be sure keeping him clean is going to continue to be a focus for the offense for the remainder of the season.