How will Teddy Bridgewater’s time with the Panthers be remembered?

Dean Jones
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /

Where did it go wrong for Teddy Bridgewater?

NFL quarterbacks are defined by what they do in key moments of games. This is what separates the good ones from the great and in Teddy Bridgewater’s case, it’s something that played a leading role in his eventual demise.

The Carolina Panthers were surprisingly competitive against some Super Bowl contenders in 2020 despite going through plenty of personnel changes during the preparation period. However, where they came unstuck was when the game hung in the balance and this is when Bridgewater should have come to the fore and led his team to victory.

Sadly for the player and the Panthers, this did not materialize.

Bridgewater wasn’t helped by not having Christian McCaffrey and his offensive line struggled in pass protection more often than not.

But that does not detract blame.

The signal-caller went 0-8 on game-winning or tying drives last season – with Carolina losing each of these contests by a solitary score. So although one cannot fully put the blame on the Louisville product, quarterbacks carry the can.

That’s why they get paid the big bucks, for good or bad.

Couple this with a hesitancy getting the football downfield, bad chemistry with star wide receiver D.J. Moore and just 15 touchdowns from as many starts, it came as no surprise that Carolina decided to cut their losses just one season after Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million deal with a $15 million signing bonus and $33 million guaranteed.

Whether Sam Darnold will be any better is still up for debate. If the Panthers get it wrong again they’ll be facing the prospect of looking for a third starting quarterback under Matt Rhule, which will pile plenty of pressure on the head coach at a critical stage of his tenure.