The Atlanta Falcons are heading into week 4 with a respectable 2-1 record. They are coming off one of their best performances ever, but the Dirty Birds must forget about their win last week and focus on their next opponent the Minnesota Vikings and their Rookie Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
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Teddy Bridgewater was a standout performer at the University of Louisville. In his senior season he completed 71% of his passes and threw for nearly 4,000 yards. He also threw 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions. But success in college doesn’t mean success in the NFL right? (Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russel) Well, so far so good for the youngster.
During the pre-season he played exceptionally well for a rookie but the Vikings choose to go with veteran Matt Cassel to start the season, until Cassel broke his foot on Sunday giving way to the “Bridgewater Era” in Minnesota.
Facing a rookie quarterback presents a challenge for defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. There just isn’t a whole lot of film of him on him other than his college and pre-season games. The issue there is that the college film will only give you an idea of his skill set and the pre-season games teams typically don’t show much of their offense.
They will need to break down the film from the game from the moment Bridgewater entered the game in the second quarter as well as the Vikings offensive attack from the previous three games. The other difficult thing about that is the Vikings will also be without Adrian Peterson so their offense may look drastically different from anything they have on shown on film to this point, which means the Atlanta Falcons must prepare for any given situation. But handling number five won’t be too easy.
"“The first thing that stands out with Bridgewater is his activity in the pocket. He does a good job moving around and extending plays but at the same time it can also get him into trouble when he tries to do too much and ends up walking into a sack. I don’t see how his arm strength will be a problem, and he throws with good accuracy. He can definitely damage you with his legs but make no mistake about it, he is a pocket quarterback first and foremost. For a young QB, he does well reading defenses and going through his progressions. He often remains poised, even in the face of blitz pressure. He has that innate ability to make the franchise play which all the best players can make,” Sunny Minhas fellow writer of BloggingDirty.com."
Sep 21, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to pass the ball against the New Orleans Saints in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
The analysis on Bridgewater out of college was that he is a pocket passer with a strong arm. He goes through his progressions well and while he doesn’t prefer to scramble he will vacate the pocket to gain positive yardage. The Falcons will need to key in on his big fast receiver’s Cordarrelle Patterson as well as veteran receiver Greg Jennings and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Defensive Coordinators are known for dialing up pressure on rookie quarterbacks to make them uncomfortable. The Atlanta Falcons would be wise to try to rattle Bridgewater early on and confuse him for the entirety of the game in order to come up with another good defensive showing. This may be a low scoring game considering the Vikings have a tough defense so the bird’s defense will definitely need to fly high.
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