Teddy Bridgewater among NFL’s best in deep-ball rankings

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

Teddy Bridgewater’s start to his time under center with the Carolina Panthers has him ranked as one of the NFL’s best deep-ball quarterbacks.

Much has been made about Teddy Bridgewater‘s ability to throw deep. This is something that has come in for criticism from large sections of the Carolina Panthers’ fanbase on social media through the first three weeks of the season. But it’s not as bad as you think.

Bridgewater is under more scrutiny than most plying their trade across the league in 2020. The Carolina Panthers got rid of beloved signal-caller Cam Newton to make their free-agent signing the No. 1 option and he is on a hiding to nothing regarding his production with those who will always remain fiercely loyal to the 2015 NFL MVP after what he brought to the organization.

The former first-round pick was probably fully aware of the situation he was walking into. Bridgewater’s calm demeanor and laid back attitude ensure that it takes a lot to phase him, especially when one considers all the player has been through to earn another starting opportunity.

However, in terms of his deep-ball ability, there could be some reasons to be encouraged.

Carolina Panthers QB ranked No. 4 in deep-ball throwing

Nick Shook, a writer for Around the NFL, took a closer look at the Next Gen Stats surrounding NFL quarterback and the deep ball this season. Bridgewater was not only ranked in the top-ten, but he came in at No. 4 and had only Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Jared Goff ahead of him.

Bridgewater has connected on five of eight deep ball passing attempts in 2020, which is a 62.5 percent success rate. This has resulted in 209 passing yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 145.8.

"“A year after completing just five deep passes in his first six outings, Bridgewater has already matched that mark through three contests with his new team. Bridgewater’s 209 deep-passing yards have already exceeded his 188-yard output from 2019, and his 145.8 rating proves going deep is worth the risk for the Panthers. He’s a surprise name on this list, sure, but if Bridgewater keeps up this pace, we’ll soon become acclimated to the idea of Teddy Bridgewater, deep passer.”"

Yes, Bridgewater should probably be taking more shots down the field. But this needs to put into some perspective for those who are already writing him off and pining for their former signal-caller, who has made a strong start to life with the New England Patriots.

Firstly, Bridgewater didn’t have a preseason top develop chemistry with his new weapons. This means that the timing is still a little off, so the initial job will be to get what he can and ensure the Panthers are competitive until everything clicks into place.

Secondly, if fans thought Bridgewater was going to take the same sort of risks as Newton, they’re going to be out of luck. And besides, Cam’s accuracy was never actually that great in Carolina.

Last but by no means least, it’s time to let go.

Newton isn’t coming back, whether some like it or not. The way he was treated wasn’t right, of that there is little doubt. But being a fan involves backing the team no matter what and this bears more significance given that this expected period of transition might not actually be that bad, much like Bridgewater’s ability to get the ball deep.

Anyone that thinks Bridgewater doesn’t have limitations is fooling themselves. He knows that better than anyone, but the player has made a career out of game managing well, being accurate in his distribution, and taking his shots for big yardage gains only when there is a good opportunity.

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