Carolina Panthers: Can Teddy Bridgewater emerge from Cam Newton’s shadow?
It might be unrealistic for Teddy Bridgewater to emerge from Cam Newton’s shadow in just one season. The way he left the Carolina Panthers will leave a sour taste in the mouth for some time yet. And things might have been far different if the organization handled his departure better.
There is no telling where Bridgewater’s career would be right now had he not suffered that freak training camp injury. The Minnesota Vikings were primed to make a Super Bowl run in 2016 in his third year. And they ended the season with an 8-8 record in the player’s absence.
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There is a lot to like where Bridgewater is concerned. And it is hard to route against him. He has a fun-loving demeanor that is matched by a fierce determination that commands instant respect of his teammates.
The Panthers’ coaching staff have been particularly impressed by the way Bridgewater has conducted himself during virtual OTAs. And this leadership is going to be vital on a young roster in 2020 and beyond.
There will be those that will always side with Newton no matter what sort of production Bridgewater comes up with next season. The recently departed player made such an impact on those that saw him play that some will stay fiercely loyal regardless.
Things are going to take time during this current rebuild. The Panthers’ chances of a postseason run are virtually non-existent in 2020. But if Bridgewater can show he is capable of turning things around. It will remove the possibility of taking Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, which will be extremely important for his long-term aspirations.