When the Carolina Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three year contract back in March, it left many Panthers fans scratching their heads. The 2020 season was supposed to be a rebuild. Tanking for Trevor was en vogue. Signing a quarterback to a three year deal at a decent salary went against everyone we thought we knew.
What is coming into focus now are the reasons the Carolina Panther signed Teddy Bridgewater and what that means for head coach Matt Rhule’s inaugural NFL Season.
Matt Rhule does not strike me as a coach that is happy to accept loss after loss in the hopes for moving up a few draft picks. Afterall, no draft pick is a sure thing. Rhule has a history of taking the talent he is given and molding it into a winning product on the field. He did it at Temple. He did it at Baylor. In Carolina he will strive for exactly that at the NFL level.
Back to Teddy Bridgewater. Each day, Bridgewater makes throws that look as good as any Carolina Panthers quarterback has made in their relatively short history. He has developed a particular chemistry with both Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore. Bridgewater throws with touch and anticipation, hitting his targets in stride. This allows them to go seamlessly from pass catching to running. This is something quite new for the talented young players and should result in higher yards after catch.
Maybe, just maybe, Bridgewater is not a placeholder for a highly coveted college quarterback. Maybe Matt Rhule saw in Teddy the ability to win games sooner rather than later. Maybe that is why he signed for three seasons. Maybe spending every single draft pick on defense really did indicate that it is the defensive side of the ball that is in desperate need of immediate improvement. Maybe Matt Rhule is so confident in his coaching ability that he feels he can coach up a competitive team without a marquee quarterback. Maybe he is right.