There has been a lot of praise thrown Teddy Bridgewater’s way, especially considering the hit-and-miss nature of first-round quarterbacks in the NFL – much less being taken after problem child Johnny Manziel.
The praise has, for the most part, been about Bridgewater’s mental makeup – his strong work ethic and genuine desire to improve every day. Commentators and media types can make such lofty claims of greatness, but when it comes from The Big Tuna, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, it gets your attention.
The Parcells coaching tree has deep roots and a labyrinth of branches, including Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Parcells was a mentor of Zimmer’s and has been an important figure to him throughout his coaching career.
Parcells appeared Monday on the “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” on Fox Sports1. The topic of conversation turned to Bridgewater, whom Cowherd said was the gem of the 2014 draft.
Parcells not only agreed with that assessment, he took it one step further.
“I know Teddy personally and I’ve been in his company several times,” Parcells said. “A couple of those were prior to the draft. He’s from South Florida and I get to know quite a few of these prospects as they’re getting ready for the draft. Sometimes I go down and speak with them at the request of some of the workout places or some of the agents that have a number of them together in one spot. Teddy was among those I had an opportunity to visit with.”
One of the qualities Parcells most admires is that Bridgewater has blinders on when it comes to playing football. Young men in their early 20s can get caught up in the celebrity lifestyle that accompanies professional athletes. Anyone looking for distractions can easily find them.
The impression Bridgewater made on Parcells when they first met, and something he has seen backed up over time, is that Bridgewater is driven to become the best quarterback he can be.
“He’s a top-quality young man,” Parcells said. “He doesn’t fall into those trappings that exist for these potential high draft choices now – the adulation, the commercial possibilities. Teddy avoided all that stuff and kept his priority on just getting ready to play.”
Parcells believes one of the biggest benefits Bridgewater has had is his association with another deep root on his coaching tree – Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
“Fortunately, Norv Turner is a guy that has kind of brought him along slowly and not asked him to do too much and I think you’ve seen the results,” Parcells said. “The jury is still out because they’ve got a ways to go – he took a pretty good beating (Sunday) – but he got up. He kept getting up.”
Like so many others in the chorus that the Vikings made the right decision on a first-round quarterback – a vital, but imprecise science – Parcells is intrigued in what he has seen in Bridgewater and the potential he shows to being the next big thing among NFL quarterbacks.
“I’ve watched him pretty closely and I’m impressed with him,” Parcells said. “He’s all football, I can tell you that. He’s not interested in anything else.”