Souhan: No-brainer, Bridgewater more poised than Manziel

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 20, 2014 - 8:39 AM

The great quarterbacks of this century aren’t just studious; they are savvy and composed. More like Teddy Bridgewater than Johnny Manziel.

hide

Teddy Bridgewater (5) in the third quarter against Arizona.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Johnny Manziel has been misinterpreted. All he was trying to tell his opponents Monday night was that he had more talent in his one middle finger than they had on their entire bench.

If the more popular theory is true, and Manziel made an obscene gesture with 382 cameras trained on him, then we are entering a season in which two rookie quarterbacks drafted in the first round might have been defined by their hands.

Johnny Manziel stuck up his finger. Teddy Bridgewater went back to his glove.

Manziel is the most compelling rookie in the league. The Browns chose him with the 22nd overall pick despite his reputation as an undisciplined player and human.

Bridgewater might prove to be the most undervalued player in the draft. The Vikings chose him with the 32nd pick after offensive coordinator Norv Turner advised the organization to disregard Bridgewater’s terrible performance during the workout in which he threw without his familiar passing glove.

Each is a talented quarterback who defies the former, and awful, stereotypes attached to the color of his skin. Manziel improvises, using his athletic ability to make spectacular plays. Bridgewater is a classic drop-back passer who ran for only 170 yards in three seasons at Louisville.

Manziel might win a title in Cleveland, and Bridgewater wouldn’t be the most accomplished college quarterback to fail in the pros, but at the moment, you’d have to judge Bridgewater to be better, and luckier.

The great quarterbacks of this century aren’t just studious; they are savvy and composed. They can handle tough questions at a news conference, as well as an all-out blitz. They are defined much more by the speed of the processors in their brains than the strength of the tendons in their elbows.

They are much more like Bridgewater than Manziel.

Most of the great quarterbacks of recent vintage have something else in common: They landed with the right team.

Manziel was drafted by an organization considered a joke around the league. His best receiver, Josh Gordon, might not play this season. His team can’t run the ball. The quarterback he’s competing with, Brian Hoyer, is neither good enough to allow Manziel to ease into the league as a backup, nor experienced enough to act as a mentor.

Manziel is being asked to save one of the worst franchises in sports while he’s trying to learn the playbook.

Bridgewater is playing behind a veteran, Matt Cassel, who knows the league and is willing to share information. The two can be seen during games and after practices talking nonstop, as they were when they left the practice field Tuesday at Winter Park.

Cassel is good enough to give Bridgewater time to learn without the pressure of playing immediately, but not so established that he will keep Bridgewater out of the lineup when the younger quarterback is ready to play.

Bridgewater is playing with a great running back and underrated receivers, and for a general manager whose reputation is tied to Bridgewater’s fate, and working with an offensive coordinator that tight end Kyle Rudolph recently called a genius.

It is not coincidental that Cassel and Bridgewater have both thrived this preseason, or that Rudolph suddenly looks like a star. Norv Turner tends to have that effect on players.

While leading the Vikings to a game-winning drive on Saturday night, Bridgewater faced relentless blitzes.

“I think he’s got outstanding composure,” Turner said. “I thought he got rid of those butterflies from Week 1, and in Week 2 he played differently. The first game he turned down four or five passes he could have thrown. He was too quick to leave the pocket, and he made that adjustment in just one week.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 4th Qtr 0:16
Phoenix 103
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 12:41
Los Angeles 2
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 67 2nd Half 5:52
Washington 49
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close