How Teddy Bridgewater’s arm opens up the Denver Broncos offense

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

For the entirety of the quarterback competition, and frankly throughout the course of his career the big “common knowledge” knock against Teddy Two Gloves was that his arm strength was subpar, and his willingness to drive the ball downfield nonexistent.

Two weeks into the 2021 season, and Teddy Bridgewater has attempted more passes of 20+ yards than any other QB in the National Football League, per Gregg Rosenthal.

Not only has he taken his share of deep shots, but he’s also been effective doing so as well. To this point, he has the 2nd highest QBR (one spot above Patrick Mahomes, no less), and 6th-highest passer rating leaguewide. The season is still young, but I knew he was capable of this kind of play, and I brought receipts.

Looking at the film of his previous seasons, it was obvious that Teddy’s arm puts deep balls around 50 yards well within range, and we saw just that on Sunday. He and Courtland Sutton connected for multiple chunk plays, and with that kind of threat over the top, defenses might have to start compensating and open things up for the run in coming weeks.

It seems to this point in the season, defenses have been operating on the basis of taking away the run and forcing Teddy to make plays happen. Now that he’s proven he can, opposing DC’s will have to adjust. Pat Shurmur will likely be facing more DB’s over the top in deep zone, which will open up more routes underneath, as well as lighten up the box for our running backs.

Though Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams have broken off some big runs already this year, consistency in the run game has been a real problem for this team. Too often, backs are getting hit behind the line, and so far our big guys up front are having issues with penetration into the backfield. Vic Fangio has noticed this problem, and noted that defenses are “going to extreme measures to stop our ground game”

Denver hasn’t been able to establish the run as a steady threat, but now that defenses will have to respect Teddy Bridgewater, some of those box defenders will likely start rolling back into coverage instead of crowding the line.

While this may take some opportunities away from the passing game, it should help the ground attack find its rhythm, and hopefully, provide a more measured offensive attack. We’ve been a pass-happy team early on, and while it’s been great to see steady, quality QB play in Denver we will need to field a better rushing game as the season moves forward.

As we all know, it’s still early in the year and there’s a lot of football left. However, in back-to-back weeks to start 2021, Bridgewater has done everything asked of him and more, and it’s just starting to feel like we may have a long-awaited answer under center in the Mile High City.

After years of instability, Teddy Bridgewater’s skillset and football IQ could make him the one to bring our offensive forces back into balance.