There always seems to be a fascination from media and fans about how much input a young quarterback has in developing an offense.
No rookie QB, not even a can’t-miss prospect like Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, is given complete control of the offense. For most young signal-callers, it is a gradual process where trust is earned over time.
The Vikings brought Teddy Bridgewater along slowly but steadily in his first two years in the league. Now that he has a deeper understanding of coordinator Norv Turner’s playbook and nearly two full seasons of invaluable in-game experience under his belt, the Vikings are encouraging Bridgewater to take charge and “let it loose” in his third NFL season.
Appearing on this week’s Access Vikings podcast, quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, Norv’s son, talked about Bridgewater’s smarts on and off the field and the trust he has earned while compiling a 17-11 career record.
In a particularly interesting portion of our 21-minute conversation, Turner gave a glimpse into how much input Bridgewater has in the offense.
“One of my biggest things as a coach is that I really stress communication,” Turner explained. “So I always tell him, ‘If you have an issue with something that’s going on or if you don’t understand a play, I have no way of knowing that unless you tell me.’ I think early on — he’s a confident guy — if he saw a play, he was like, ‘I’m going to make that work.’ Now with his growing familiarity with our offense and the fact that we have run so many of these plays, he has some that he likes more than others.
“I always tell him, ‘Hey, if you have an issue with a play or you see it one way, ask me a question.’ [He] might not always get the answer that [he likes]. I may say, ‘This is how we’re going to read it and we’ll figure it out.’ But at least I know the concern is there and I can either answer it and relieve [it] or, hey, maybe there is something we didn’t think of and we can change it. Because Teddy’s a smart guy and he’s the guy that has to pull the trigger. So he has to be comfortable with what we’re doing.”
In our wide-ranging conversation, Turner also talked about Bridgewater’s success throwing the deep ball early in training camp, Bridgewater’s quiet confidence and how Turner became sold on Bridgewater in the first place. Plus, he gave us his take on Shaun Hill and the other Vikings quarterbacks.
Be sure to give the podcast a listen just to hear that conversation, which starts at the 29-minute mark. But stick around for my list of the 16 most important Vikings players for 2016 and a little bit of non-Vikings silliness.
If you are an iTunes guy or gal, you can subscribe to the podcast here.