The Reason Teddy Bridgewater “struggles” with his Deep Ball

I started at QB as a sophomore and senior in High School. I wasn’t very good, but it helped me understand what it takes to be a successful QB at a higher level. Speaking with former coaches, reading up on the position, and speaking others who have played the position have helped a lot as well. When I watch Bridgewater, he’s everything I’d personally want in a QB. His pocket presence rivals any at the position in the last few years. His ability to be patient in the pocket, climb the pocket, at stare down blitzers without flinching is incredible. His intermediate velocity to all parts of the field is another trait that stands out. Combine that with his accuracy and ball placement, it’s easy to fall in love with Bridgewater.

There’s been a myth the last couple of years on how Bridgewater struggles with his deep ball accuracy. Well, it’s not really a myth, because he certainly does miss these throws. There’s a reason for this. Allow me to explain.

The majority of offenses at every level of football have the QB progress the throw from long to short. Why? Because you have about 2.5-3 seconds to process the play. So if a deep receiver comes open quickly, the QB can gather themselves, step and make an accurate throw. In case the deep route of the designed play doesn’t come open, there’s still enough time to come back down to the check down option, or the safer throw.

This isn’t the case in Louisville’s offense.

I use West Coast offense loosely, but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson is from the Bill Callahan tree, which is known for primarily having west coast principles(think Rich Gannon-Oakland). In short, it’s one of the few offenses, Callahan specifically, where it asks the QB to progress from short to deep.  So how does that effect Bridgewater?

When he’s making deep throws that are his first read, do you notice a trend? The passes are spot on.

 

 

 

It’s when the deep passes are his secondary read, that’s when the accuracy is off. It’s like he’s just trying to get rid of it, and throws it out there. As opposed to the GIFs above where he uses touch, and is actually aiming to a specific spot. The GIFs below are when Bridgewater is asked to come off of his primary read, and throw the ball down the sideline as sort of a last resort.

 

These are only 3 examples, yes. However Bridgewater has shown this throughout the last two years. There are certainly times where Bridgewater misses his deep target on his initial read. This is the root of his issues, and why I believe in the NFL it won’t be a problem. The teams Bridgewater is projected to go to have their QBs progress from deep to short. That should solve the main issue with Bridgewater, and put the myth to rest that he struggles with his deep ball.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10   8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round   8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round   7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round   7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round   7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round   6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round   6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round   5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round   5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round   4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations   4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable     < 4.0

 

Weight Trait Grade
Pocket Presence 4 4
Accuracy 4 3.8
Intermediate Velocity 2.5 2.3
Decision Making 2.5 2.2
Footwork 2 2
Arm Strength 2 1.7
Anticipation 2 1.7
Athleticism 2 1.7
Throwing Motion/Release 2 1.7
Size 2 1.7

Bridgewater grades out to an 8.21. Bridgewater isn’t a perfect prospect by any means. He’ll have a few throws a game that make you wonder what he was thinking there. He has a low release that could lead to potential bat downs at the next level at the line of scrimmage, it also seems like the ball sails on him at times because of this. I do feel like he can get better with his anticipation, especially in the type of offense he played in at Louisville, that relies on timing. If you want to nit pick, he has somewhat of an elongated throwing motion, but his release/velocity make up for it. Other than that, there’s no real question marks when I watch Bridgewater. The poise he has is incredible. He’s always under control. He doesn’t project to an “Andrew Luck” type ceiling, but who does? Bridgewater will be one of the better game managers in the NFL. By game manager, I mean having the game under and in total control. Checking to the right plays, taking what the defense gives him, and not making mistakes. That’s the farthest thing from a diss as it might read. Expect Bridgewater to be the reason whatever team drafts him is successful for a very long time.