The last two drives of the Bears game illustrated for all to see what Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can do to help a team win a game. Coach Mike Zimmer says there are a lot more things that go unnoticed.
“I think he does a lot of things that people don’t recognize, that people don’t see,” Zimmer said earlier today. “Whether it’s getting us in plays, out of plays, moving in the pocket, avoiding a bad negative thing. There’s a lot to be said for that.”
“If I was going to critique him on doing something a little bit better, I think it would be when we have the opportunity to hit some plays that come up the right way, we need to hit them. Sometimes, the protection breaks down, sometimes he may have come off the receiver too soon or the coverage dictated going somewhere else. But I think he’ll continue to get better at all of that.”
Asked if Bridgewater is too hesitant early in games, Zimmer said, “I think he’s careful with the football, but I would not say he’s tentative. And young guys still get fooled once in a while. Sometimes, a coverage came up a different way than he expected and he ended up going somewhere else. I wouldn’t say he’s tentative.”
Zimmer said Bridgewater “has been good” at identifying coverages.
“Even the good guys get fooled some,” Zimmer said. “It’s just being able to dissect it. He’s usually pretty good at that, but there are times when he gets fooled once in a while. But they all do.”
One of the more encouraging aspects of Bridgewater’s game, Zimmer said, is how the young quarterback figures out what teams are trying to do to him during the course of the game.
“I think as the game goes on I think he gets a better feel for what a team is doing,” Zimmer said. “Sometimes when you come out early in the ballgame, you get a lot of different looks that they change it up and do different things. And I think as the game goes on I think he has a way of processing it. I think [quarterbacks coach] Scott [Turner] does a good job with him on the sideline.
Here are some other highlights from Zimmer’s press conference today …
— On the league-wide trend toward deferring when teams win the coin toss to start the game: “You have a chance to score at the end of the half and get the ball at the start of the second half. you have a chance to get an extra possession somewhere in there.”
— On rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings’ performance in Chicago: “Last week was his best week. I thought he did better in all areas. He blocked better, he was more physical, he sustained better in his run blocks and also his pass protections.”
— On the challenge of playing the 4-3 Rams on Sunday: “They’re similar to us in some ways. They’re very good defensively. They run the ball extremely well. Put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. It will be a good test for us.”
— On the Rams having 13 players share 26 sacks: “We have to be sharp on protections. You can’t just pay attention to [Aaron] Donald and [Robert] Quinn and [Michael] Brockers. You got to make sure you’re aware of their corner cats. They have some linebackers come and some safeties too. They bring them from all different levels.”