I was on the air with an Atlanta radio program last week when one of the co-hosts asked what Teddy Bridgewater has to do to bounce back from an “abysmal” season.
That seemed a tad extreme, even by radio standards. Must have been a fantasy football player.
Sure, Teddy left room to grow in 2015. He was 22 going on 23. But “abysmal”? First of all, there’s never been an abysmal quarterback who has started every game for an 11-win playoff team.
Later, the name of Derek Carr came up. As the 36th pick of the 2014 draft, Carr, the Raiders’ starting quarterback, was taken four spots behind Bridgewater. Naturally, comparisons were made between the two. As long as one of them is still in the league, comparisons are going to be made.
I get it that the Raiders are a trendy pick to actually do something of note for the first time since they last made the playoffs 13 seasons ago. And I get it that Carr’s talented arm is a big part of Oakland’s rare AFC West optimism (not to mention that the Broncos lost QBs Nos. 1 & 2).
But too often people have to deflate one player to inflate another. I think Carr and Bridgewater are both good quarterbacks who can succeed in the NFL for a fair amount of time. But they’re on two completely different teams and have been in two completely different situations up to this point.
Carr threw 32 touchdowns a year ago. Bridgewater threw 14. Carr threw for nearly 4,000 yards. Bridgewater threw for just over 3,200.
But it’s misleading to looking at cumulative stats at the end of a season without the context of how each individual game unfolded. Christian Ponder threw for over 300 yards at Washington a few years back, and it was a classic poor quarterbacking performance. His turnovers near the goal line put the Vikings in a hole that, A, they couldn’t get out of; and B, padded Ponder’s passing stats with meaningless garbage time.
For another example, look no further than the Bridgewater-Carr meeting just last fall in Oakland.
Carr threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Bridgewater threw for 140 yards and one touchdown.
Bridgewater didn’t turn the ball over and won 30-14. Carr threw two picks during a 7-9 season.
Bridgewater is 17-11 as a starter. Carr is 10-22.
Yes, Carr’s passer rating last year was 91.1, three spots ahead of Bridgewater’s 88.7. But there’s a number for every side of an argument. Case in point: Carr’s fourth-quarter passer rating was 67.5, which was 38th in the league and 15 spots lower than Bridgewater’s 90.0.
Despite their preseason hype, the Raiders aren’t wowing anybody with their first-team offense through two preseason games (1-1). Carr has a 48.3 passer rating and has put only two field goals on the board in about three quarters of work.
Bridgewater, of course, didn’t play in the second preseason game. He’s one of only two QBs in the league — along with Cowboys backup Dak Prescott — with a perfect preseason passer rating of 158.3. But as we all should know, there’s more to judging quarterbacks than stats.