The Carolina Panthers are stuck in the quarterback purgatory and only they are to blame.
Which may have helped them that owner David Tepper, CEO Marty Hurney and coach Matt Rhule boldly trusted the first 30-year offensive coordinator. Maybe Joe Brady was the choice after the team decided to dig his biggest player in Cam Newton to ever go to Teddy Bridgewater.
Despite his mediocre career and devastating injury history, Bridgewater was entrusted with the present and future of the franchise (a three-year, $ 63 million contract), largely due to his knowledge of Brady. Both, one worked as a security rescue for Drew Brees and the other as an assault assistant with the New Orleans Saints from 2017-2018.
While knowledge of Brady and Bridgewater proved to be a resource in helping them get the biggest gigs of their careers, the latter’s general familiarity should have served as a warning sign for Carolina. Because Bridgewater, even with the goodwill and popularity he received from his peers, is the same remarkable quarterback as always.
He proved this again this afternoon in another, uninspired performance, the extraordinary 32-27 defeat to the Denver Broncos.
Bridgewater started their first seven passes in the afternoon. That would be a pretty nasty statistic if this week’s completion hadn’t been a paltry 36 yards.
He continued following a couple of critical mental errors, receiving the first playtime delay penalty at the 6:14 position in the fourth quarter. Unable to organize the game and staff on time, the Panthers moved from the Broncos ’7-yard line to 12, resulting in another field goal when a touchdown was needed.
The second expiration, Carolina with a five-down lead with the ball on his own 29-yard line, ran a Bridgewater game before the two-minute warning. Instead of using the shutdown to gather his crime and prepare for the incoming 3rd and 8th, he swept his unit toward a mess and a later incompleteness. Rhule later pointed to the gaff.
Bridgewater closed the day quite passively. On the next 4 & seven, Curtis threw a pass from Samuel’s stick. It didn’t go well.
While this loss was primarily due to team defense and special teams as the teams allowed 83-, 37- and 49-yard touchdowns while Drew Lock seemed to be John Elway, that’s not the lesson. This is that Bridgewater – who shyly moved the ball down at an alarming rate all the time – isn’t true, people.
Even though there are always 22 people on the field, this game is often just about getting – the quarterback. And in today’s game, you’re not going to compete with people who are too shy to throw away sticks.
Now comes the interesting part. In the meantime, you start PJ Walker at 4-9 to see what you got? Will you start Will Grier to see how much worse the decision to apply a third-round election could turn out to be?
What will happen to Bridgewater in the slightly more distant future? Instead of making a one-year deal with Newton at a lower cost, they insist on two more years with Teddy, with an average salary of $ 21 million.
Are they drawing Justin Fields because Trevor Lawrence isn’t on them now? Is Zach Wilson being drafted? Heck, 4-12 in 2020 is still bad enough to make your choice high enough to get any of them?
Strap, everyone. We may be on a bumpy road.