When they drafted Teddy Bridgewater #32 overall in the 2014 draft it was in response to the red flags that were raised in regard to every quarterback in the 2014 draft ... maybe we now have a glimpse in regard to as to the reasons ... WHY? The answer came in our recent contest versus the Green Bay Packers as Aaron Rodgers had another message for the Viking franchise and specifically for Teddy Bridgewater on October 2, 2014. Seeing Teddy on the sideline re-instilled pain with Aaron by reminding him of his 2013 season. It also made his upcoming efforts of the day versus Ponder ... easy.
In the 2013 season, without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers struggled mightily. The Packers lost their most important cog to their success. His words on last Thursday were that his most important requirement was for Aaron Rodgers to stay healthy, without injury, so that he could play. Please note that this has nothing to do with managing a game. It has nothing to do with either interceptions, touchdowns, or quarterback rating. It had nothing to do with some idiots fantasy league. It has to do with a biblical statement, "If thy not for thyself ... then who will be".
Teddy Bridgewater has a family. He is a man. What this means is that his family is dependent upon both him and his success. As this franchises starting quarterback ... everyone on that roster ... it's coaches ... it's management ... and it's owner are now dependent upon him. If he is not on that field, he has not fulfilled his commitments. If he chooses to do it all on his own ... being both selfish and full of ego ... then he has failed to learn and then master the game. Taking what the defense gives you is ok ... but you have to live for the next play. Choosing between injury and the living for the next play should never be questioned. It is not about winning a play, or a battle ... it's about winning the war.
Don Majkowski, "The Magic Man" was a very good quarterback that put up good numbers in the NFL. Today he is known as the Wally Pip of the NFL. On September 20, 1992, history for this Viking franchise changed for all time, as 297 NFL starts later, Brett Favre became the Iron Man of the NFL. One could clearly argue that Brett Favre's franchise has been handsomely rewarded for all those consecutive starts. Teddy played in two games. He secures his first NFL start and he's injured and cannot start versus a key divisional opponent. The injury was self inflicted as it was offered as a non-contact injury. Was this injury the RED FLAG that made Teddy Bridgewater a suspect selection in the 2014 draft class? Well, injury-phobia was most certainly the key suspect or concern in regard to his #1 draft rival as Johnny Football (Manziel) was clearly seen as a high-risk target as a running non-pocket quarterback ... that was destined to injury after injury in the NFL. Maybe that's the key reason as to why Manziel isn't starting for Cleveland these days.
So what does Teddy's injury tell us? Well ... to be direct ... it tells us the same thing that his Teddy's stats tell us. He hasn't learned to score from the pocket where he is quite willing to take the team upon his shoulders to make things happen. This is a major and monumental mistake which makes Teddy suspect as a potential long term franchise quarterback. Peyton Manning understood that to be successful in this league ... to maintain longevity ... you needed to obtain your success from the pocket using both your arm and intelligence where he was more than willing to take his proverbial lumps to learn how to do this. It wasn't the pounding that he took by being sacked ... it was taking the beating of the proverbial sledge hammer of securing 28 interceptions under his belt in his inaugural 1998 season (The Randy Moss Season).
So, you don't understand, right? Teddy's beating isn't to be taken physically by Teddy. Teddy's beating must be taken by his coaches where Teddy must be willing to both risk and learn. Said another way ... if he's not risking ... then he's not learning. Put another way, Ponder's play selection looked allot like the plays that we ran with Adrian Peterson ... without Adrian Peterson ... and with dismal results. Ponder hadn't evolved and most importantly of all ... he wasn't either able or capable of risking down the field throws, resulting in what appeared to Ponder to be 30 in the box.
There is a very real danger here. It's almost guaranteed that Teddy's coaches are telling him that he's performing well which does nothing more than cripple him to reality. Teddy needs to learn, risk and then master the game without ever risking his body. IF the offense around him breaks or fails, which will happen, in time they will be replaced by someone that will not risk either their quarterback or the future of their franchise. Believe me, the entire league saw Teddy dive in the end zone and if he ever does that again, someone is going to make him pay in spades. In short, there are only two types of quarterbacks. There are franchise quarterbacks and there are absolute fools that are willing to risk their bodies rather than risk their "play-judgment". Which one are you Teddy? "Play-Judgment" is pass-fail as you either succeed, or you fail at various levels. In time, a franchise quarterback will learns how to stack the deck in his favor but that requires staying on that field ... searching for your next opportunity. There is no such thing as a starting quarterback ... there are just various levels of an auditions for masters and pretenders.
"The NFL has made it a point of emphasis to protect quarterbacks that remain in the pocket." Yeah Right! But it sounds great on paper. Of course that statement really isn't true, as some franchises count, and others don't, as absolutely no one believes this directive. It is without doubt that the NFL is in the business of protecting it's mega million dollars contracts. What this means is that the NFL's #1 interest is to protect "INSPIRATION". It is "INSPIRATION" that brings millions into NFL coffers. The NFL is actively searching for the replacement for both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as they are soon for the heap of history. Teddy can have a very long productive career if he plays within the guidelines of living for that next play. Running down the field getting your brains beaten in, Culpepper's knee shredded, Tommy Kramer's knee shredded, Fran Tarkenton's leg broken ... isn't inspired football. Tom Brady got his knee shredded in the pocket but that resulted in the "Brady Rule" which states that you cannot dive at quarterbacks legs without facing ejection, suspension, fines and flags, let alone a cheap-shot-career-ending-injury of your own as payback for all your troubles. Keep in mind that those that live by the sword ... die by the sword.
Teddy's played in two NFL games. He's played in four preseason games. It is clear that everyone that he's been in contact with ... his coaches, the players, the fans and the ownership, has been inspired by much more than just his leadership. Seeing him live, it is clear that he has something very special. That INSPIRATION all went away when Teddy found himself on the sideline. For a grand total of four days, the entire NFL was electrified by Teddy ... Teddy ... Teddy. Teddy's INSPIRATION reminded me of the days when Lawrence Taylor hit the scene. Teddy has the ability to secure the NFL's coveted "INSPIRATION" protection ban however to do so, he has to both learn and evolve ... but that doesn't happen unless he can remain healthy. Does these few short days, as a time frame, sound familiar to anyone? Here's a question for you. There is only one franchise in NFL history that held an NFL championship for a grand total of eight (8) days from January 4th to January 11th, as history has been re-written since that day and for all time. Can you guess what franchise for which 8-days, of an NFL championship, applies? And No, it's not the Colts as both the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens have held numerous championships that are forever. Let me tell you this so there is no mistaking how one might feel about this. There is absolutely no one that is apart of the NFL in any way that can possibly be more angry and that can hold more contempt as no part of this franchises history compares, at any level, whatsoever.
Adrian Peterson can be told to hit the bricks but to be direct, this particular move would push Rick Spielman's drafting of Ponder to #2 on his list. Jettisoning Peterson means the absolute end of Rick Spielman. Spielman would be better served by loading all six chambers of a 6-shooter, spinning the chamber, putting the gun to his head and then pulling the trigger. Don't go there. AM I CLEAR? DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? What is clear is that Adrian Peterson choice to leave this franchise on his own accord is no longer an option ... regardless of pay ... as his ultimate prayer has been answered. Of course, Adrian Peterson could chose to ignore, and then walk away from this favorable response ... but if he does this ... the collapse of the Metrodome by comparison would be an afterthought. As it's witness, I shudder at the thought of what might be in that vein. HEED THIS WARNING! To be direct, AD never really wanted Jerry Jones and his ilk, especially now being the brunt of his joke. Jerry Jones has no interest in sharing the NFL rushing title with anybody or anything that isn't 100% controlled by his franchise. No one equates Emmitt Smith as an Arizona Cardinal. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Jerry were now to say that he would no longer want Adrian Peterson as part of his beloved Pokes as Dallas dollars are tied to the right image ... OHHHNNNNOOOO! From Jerry Jones perspective, wouldn't it now be easier, for all involved, to toss Adrian Peterson into the meat grinder rather than protect him under the Cowboys delicate umbrella of limited resources. What Peterson has always been searching for is INSPIRATION that is worthy of his "in-his-prime-talent", that can take him to that ultimate destination. He's got that now.
Well before the season started, with a big smile on Mike Zimmer's face, he announced that Matt Cassel would be the opening day starter. Once again this decision went against that directed by the GHOST where the plan was to start Teddy on opening day, benching him early and often as required, with Cassel performing as this teams savior by bailing this franchise out ... time and again. Of course, Mike Zimmer's decision didn't sit well with the ghost as that decision flew in the face of the gods ... once again. It was then that the question was asked, "How could this franchise be punished in such a way that they'd never forget a lesson for once and for all time?" Well, since that opening-day-quarterback-starter-decision, I can't imagine a more devastating outcome, where if Teddy started, Matt Cassel just might still be on that sideline today looking forward to a big 2015 payday with Spielman looking at additional juicy draft picks for Cassel's services in a favorable trade. Instead Cassel's reward was broken bones in his foot, surgery and a very uncertain future. Mike Zimmer's smile has been wiped from his face in short order. Although Mike Zimmer may be new ... the franchise and it's history is not ... and the compelling interests should not be ignored.
At the end of the 2013
season, the Ghost identified three (3) key players to keep as part of this
franchise as being paramount to the interests of this franchises future.
Those players were Joe Webb (key to our special teams and as our backup 3rd
quarterback), Toby Gerhart and Everson Griffen. Although Spielman acted on
Griffen, by comparison, how would you perceive Toby Gerhart's minor contract
today, or in other words ... would Toby be welcomed today at his present
pay level? Gerhart would certainly be in a completely different position
if he were apart of the Vikings franchise. Now consider Thursday's
contest with Joe Webb starting as our 3rd string quarterback, as well as our
special teams demon throughout the year. Corderrele Patterson is still
here ... Joe Webb is not ... where are the special teams points? Now ask
yourself, would Thursday's contest have been a game even with limited first team
reps. and who might have been inspired by Joe being behind center. Instead
what we endured was Christian Ponder ramming the knife into Ziggy's back, as
well as the back of every member of the Viking Nation. Revenge
is sweet ... isn't it Mr. Ponder ... and still nothing sticks to this Teflon