Teddy Bridgewater’s arrival has brought feeling of excitement and anxiety. It also is an entry filled with someperplexing questions.
Twenty-three months away from a debilitating left knee injury that nearly ended his career in late August 2016, Bridgewater took reps and was impressive in the Jets’ OTAs and mini-camp in May and June. His arm was crisp and his movement was solid.
A huge test was passed and another major one lies ahead in a few weeks. Bridgewater will endure hits in training camp and preseason games for the first time in two years.
It was that campaign when Bridgewater took the league by storm when he threw for more than 3,200 yards and 14 touchdowns as well as establishing himself as a scrambler.Those numbers weren’t earth-shattering, but Bridgewater quickly became a gamechanger.
Bridgewater briefly appeared in a game late last seasonwithout any repercussions, sending a signal that he was ready to again blaze his own trail.
The Jets signed him basically signed him as a one-year, $6 million insurance policy to touted rookie Sam Darnold, but they believe he can be under center in Detroit Sept. 10.
Unless Darnold dazzles, management will give Bridgewater a month to prove he can win the job.
Head coach Todd Bowles surely will have his fingers crossed.
“All you can do is cringe,” said Bowles at the June min-camp. “It’s probably one of the worst injuries I’ve seen since L.T.(Lawrence Taylor)- (Joe)Theismann in that (1985) Monday night game.
“But he seems to be bouncing back well.”
Other teams have the same feeling.
According to several reports out of Tampa, Bridgewater has surfaced as a fill-in for Jameis Winston while he serves his three-game suspension. Ironically, ex-Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick is the current backup there.
Bridgewater also has surfaced as trade bait, primarily late in the preseason. He has been mentioned in a trade for Jacksonville pass rusher Dante Fowler, who apparently can be expendable and can solve a huge Jets’ problem.
If he is healthy, teams will be calling.
One big test for Bridgewater will be the opening days of training camp and the real key will be Aug. 10 when the Jets play their first preseason game.
If Bridgewater shows he has most of his mobility without any restrictions, he can be the first step toward assuring the Jets a reliable and efficient quarterback in quite some time. He can be one of the playmakers the Jets have been seeking.
Bridgewater also can allow Darnold to mature at a reasonable pace.
It’s a dice roll, a relatively cheap one in football standards.
Yet, it can also be a move that can take the Jets to the next level in a hurry.