The Minnesota Vikings are working with Teddy Bridgewater to improve some of the elements of his game, but Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner are doing it their way with no regard to what sports websites like Pro Football Focus have to say.
In a post-practice interview session Monday, getting a discourse with Zimmer was about as pleasant and easy as pulling a healthy tooth out with a pliers.
It didn’t matter how answer-friendly questions were asked, they were met with a certain air of brevity, similar to Zimmer’s post-game press conference after a 38-7 loss.
A lot of brevity.
But, when it came to discussing Bridgewater and the improvements he needs to make, the answers had more words than a shop teacher has fingers.
When the questioning came around to Bridgewater and his penchant for holding onto the ball too long on plays when his receivers aren’t getting separation, there was more insight. For his part, Zimmer admitted that he and Turner have discussed that Bridgewater needs to speed up decisions on getting the ball out of his hand.
“We’ll talk to him about some things,” Zimmer said. “I talked to him a little bit and I know Norv has too today. Just some things we need to clean up.”
When the discussion came back to Bridgewater, the tone changed, as Zimmer was emphatic that analysts like PFF, which has analyzed Bridgewater harshly for holding the ball too long, aren’t on the inside.
Zimmer pointed out that outside analysts don’t understand the intent of a play and never will.
On Monday, Pro Football Focus tweeted that Bridgewater, but their count, has been pressured on 47.4 percent of his dropbacks this season, highest in the NFL and that the Vikings lead league in seven-step drops.
“(Sometimes) they have quicks and sometimes they have deeper shots,” Zimmer said. “Everybody has that. I don’t know who the timer is at Pro Football Focus or anything like that who sits in England and times – is this a scramble? Is this a get-it-out quick? Is this a quick throw? Is this a play action? I don’t know. I don’t worry about any of that stuff.”
On a short week where the Vikings are looking to avoid two losses in five days facing the highest-scoring team in the league with their top four safeties not practicing Monday, perhaps Zimmer has a reason to be short with answers and quick to dismiss website metrics. He has bigger fish to fry.
He slept at the office Sunday night. He’s not a happy coach at the moment. He’s not interested in armchair quarterbacks discussing his quarterback.
Welcome to the discussion of weaknesses on a playoff-bound team.
It comes with the territory and Zimmer is learning on the fly that the questioning will get more pointed as the stakes get higher.