NEW ORLEANS — Something pretty big happened Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the New Orleans Saints 34-25 loss to the Minnesota Vikings that some fans might not have noticed and some fans may not like: Teddy Bridgewater locked down his place as the post-Drew Brees starting quarterback in New Orleans.
This of course comes with the usual caveat of it being contingent on Brees retiring after 2019, but if 2019 is indeed Drew's final season, then I'd bet a month's salary Teddy Bridgewater will be the Saints starting quarterback in 2020.
Bridgewater looked exactly like the young Pro Bowl quarterback he was with the Vikings before his career-threatening knee injury. Teddy finished the game 14 of 19 for 134 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a rating of 110. If not for three drops, including a potential touchdown by Michael Thomas, Bridgewater's box score would've been near perfection.
It's only preseason but the Saints haven't invested 15 million dollars and a 3rd round draft pick over two seasons in Bridgewater, to have him look great, and then decide to have some other quarterback follow Drew Brees as the starter. That'd be dumb and Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis don't do dumb.
The Saints are trying to win a Super Bowl right now, so anything after 2019 isn't the most pressing thing on our minds, but it's pretty comforting knowing if the Saints do transition from Drew to Teddy, the likelihood of the Saints falling into the football abyss like Buffalo after Jim Kelly, Cleveland after Bernie Kosar or Miami after Dan Marino seem slim.
Seeing Saints fans on social media critique Bridgewater's performance made me realize that, as a fan base, Drew Brees has spoiled us rotten to the core when looking at other quarterbacks.
My Twitter feed ran the gamut from “Teddy holds the ball too long” to “Teddy doesn't throw down field enough” -- and the my personal favorite -- “A season or two of Bridgewater will have people complaining that Payton has been kidnapped and replaced by Carl Smith's doppelganger in terms of play calling. It will be the water torture offense.” The first two I paraphrased from many tweets, the last one is taken word for word from someone in my timeline.
The Saints had a quarterback have a rating of 110 and average 7 yards an attempt and people are bringing up maybe the most loathed offensive coordinator in Saints history as a comparison to what they watched? All you people under 30, Carl Smith was the offensive coordinator for all four playoff loses under Jim Mora and, fair or not, gets most of the blame for the final two postseason Mora defeats.
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If Drew Brees is the standard by which some fans judge all future Saints quarterbacks, they will be disappointed the rest of their lives every Sunday they watch football. I'm not going to impose that sort of suffering on myself; the Saints will deliver enough future disappointment without me expecting every future Saints quarterback to be Drew 2.0. It's not gonna happen. Drew is a cyborg who has perfected his throwing motion, his accuracy, his fitness, and incredibly is playing his best football at 40.
So I will not judge Teddy Bridgewater against Drew Brees' greatness. I believe Bridgewater can be above average and maybe even really good.
Besides, let's say the Saints do in 2019 what we all dream of and win the Super Bowl, Drew retires while at the mountain top, how exactly are the Saints going to acquire a quarterback better than Teddy Bridgewater? They'd be picking 32nd, so forget trading up into the top five ahead of all the other bad teams that would also be wanting to draft a quarterback. Well maybe they could go get a quarterback better than Teddy Bridgewater in free agency? Good luck. Unless the 39-year-old Eli Mannings or the Jameis Winstons of the world excite you.
If you prefer any realistic option on the 2020 free agent quarterback list to Teddy Bridgewater as a Drew Brees replacement you need a cold rag on your forehead and friends and family that love you enough to tell you to stop uttering such things aloud.
I'm not sure Teddy Bridgewater will be a great or even above average quarterback, but I'm 100 percent certain he's the best and safest option for the Saints in 2020 that isn't Drew Brees.
If Drew isn't the quarterback next year, the anti-Bridgewater crowd will be like that friend who tells you, “Don't take the safe $70K a year job. I have 100 power ball tickets and 20 percent stake in an app that will be like Facebook but for barbecue pits.” Sure that plan COULD lead to a 7-figure income but if 2019 goes how we dream for the Saints, I'll just take the safe simple path in the post Drew Brees world thank you.
If our Saints fantasies come true in 2019, Teddy is in all probability the Saints starting quarterback in 2020. Last Friday locked it in.
Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaintsForecast or download his podcast at iTunes.