The Tao of Teddy Bridgewater of the Denver Broncos

October 21, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The winningest quarterbacks for the Denver Broncos have covered a spectrum of excitement, momentum and the “it” factor, each combination as unique as their own fingerprints.

And Broncos players embrace every quarterback’s style. From the fiery intensity of John Elway to the unbridled competitiveness of Jake Plummer to the ever-moving brain of Peyton Manning, those who have thrived at the job over the past four decades have become the Broncos’ path.

Teddy Bridgewater is six games into his Broncos tenure and has already experienced the ups and downs of this quarterback-crazy Rocky Mountain region. The Broncos opened the season with a three-game winning streak and all was well in the world of soccer. Heading into Thursday night’s game at the Cleveland Browns (8:20 pm ET, Fox), the Broncos have lost three in a row, with the necessary handshake all over the place.

Bridgewater has sported a slight limp for the week with a left foot injury, but has offered its trademark promise not to worry: “I will continue to attack this rehab, continue to focus on the game plan and try to make sure I am ready when come Thursday “.

What happens to Bridgewater’s tenure is a work in progress, right down to the question of whether it will be a one-year experiment. But Bridgewater calls himself “a survivor” and has already put his signature on this team with his calm demeanor and thoughtful words.

His “he’s great” response to most issues is part of a cool, detail-oriented, Zen-infused player who has already become one of the biggest voices in the Denver locker room.

“It happened fast,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said. “Because of who he is and how he does it.”

How it happened so quickly that it can be seen, perhaps, in Teddy’s Tao.

Giving credit, taking the blame

“When you win, point your finger at your teammates, and when you lose, take aim at yourself. Today was one of those days where I took aim at myself.” – Bridgewater

Manning always said that one of a quarterback’s jobs was to lead the way in accountability, no matter what and without fail.

“Every interception has a story and nobody wants to hear it,” he often said. Plummer put it in his blunt way, that a quarterback’s job was to “take the blame, you always get up and fight for your guys.”

Bridgewater has blamed himself for every interception or fumble he’s made this season, including all four in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. Bridgewater admitted that he could have held the ball too long at times while trying to make a play. He regretted not giving “my guys a chance to make a play.” In general, he has carried offensive problems on his shoulders.

“I am a survivor, throw me into the jungle, and I am going to come out with a fur coat and a headband that I made with some leaves.”

Teddy bridgewater

“And that’s what you do,” Plummer said. “Everyone will tell you how great you are when you’re winning, although everyone else should probably get more recognition too, so when it’s not going well, you pick yourself up. You always fight for your guys, in games, during the week, Whatever, man, that’s the job. “

Bridgewater said she tries to keep all conversations, especially social media, at bay for her own sanity. That includes a kind of blackout of sorts – “I watch a little Netflix” – unless, you admit, there is a promotional deal involved.

“I go on social media just to post about my children’s book, ‘Little Bear Teddy,'” Bridgewater said. “I haven’t tweeted since the Miami Heat were in the Finals in the bubble against the Lakers. Honestly, it’s one of those deals where it can’t do anything for you other than break you many times in this profession. You ‘I have so many owners. fantasy they want you to throw the ball at that guy, or [people] tell you how good you are and how bad you are. I’m a guy, I really stay away from it unless I get paid to post or something. “

To scream or not to scream

“I’ve never been a loudmouth. Sometimes I pay attention to boys. You have these guys who sometimes don’t do well when you yell at them, so you push a boy away [and you say], ‘Hey man, I need you here. When you get to the seventh step, make sure you get out of the break. I’m throwing it away and if you’re not there, I’m going to the next guy. ‘ … So a little dialogue like that has a lot of value. “- Bridgewater

Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who is the team’s oldest player, wore a microphone during a game earlier this season. Over the years, Miller has grown from a super talented twenty-something to a voice of experience who has routinely cited players like Manning and DeMarcus Ware as those with the leadership styles he coveted.

Ware was often a reassuring voice of excellence and experience, while Manning, his teammates have often said, lobbied with his fanatical preparation.

Bridgewater is often seen talking to players off to the side, away from each other, between exercises, in the team cafeteria, at dinner parties, almost anywhere he can put a word. He has also earned more than a few compliments for his pregame words each. week.

It was one of those pregame appearances earlier this season that had Miller, microphone on, tell Bridgewater near the bench: “I haven’t felt that in a while, since 18 [Manning] I was here, man. Get on with that shit, those little pep talks go a long way … we need that shit. We haven’t had that in a minute. I love you bro. “

Bridgewater has said that since it has organized some extra sessions with the offense at the end of practice, it is the “extra time” that players put in that can make a difference in keeping things together during tough football times like the ones in the game. face the Broncos now.

“Coaches can say it one way, but when coaches leave the field and we fall behind, I feel like that’s when we take possession as players,” Bridgewater said. “We put the extra in and we make it ours.”

Life and football

“Appreciate life and the simple things in life … Always smile … I saw my mom go through something; I’ve been through something. We all have a story. It’s about how we can turn that story around, yeah It’s negative, make it positive. My mom did exactly that. Every day I walk and put my feet on the ground, I’m happy. Life is short. You can’t take it for granted. ” – Bridgewater

Bridgewater is quick to point out that her mother’s battle with breast cancer when she was younger has impacted the way she has approached things on and off the field. Earlier this season, she described how her mother lost her hair, how her nails turned black during chemotherapy, and how he often helped her get into bed and out of bed or into the bathroom.

When he suffered a career-threatening tibiofemoral dislocation (the bones of the femur and tibia essentially disconnected) in 2016, Bridgewater said, “They were concerned about having my leg amputated.” The injury kept Bridgewater out of the field for nearly two full seasons – he missed all of 2016 and played one game in 2017. He did not start again more than five games in a season, as he had the year before the injury in 2015 , until 2020 when he had signed with the Carolina Panthers.

Bridgewater has recovered and seems unflappable now. He may not be a regular on social media, but his Twitter account still has a bio proclaiming him as “the neighborhood hope monger.”

“You’d hate to see a quarterback make a mistake, and you see it on his face, and he’s nervous,” Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III said. “You don’t want to see that from your quarterback. [Bridgewater’s] calm brings tranquility to the whole group. It kind of calms everyone down. “

Some in the know say it’s what makes Bridgewater, who is smiling, mostly unflappable, a study in mental toughness. That even when the game was nearly taken from him when he was 24 years old and had already been named to a Pro Bowl, he seems determined to want, rather than scream, for something good to happen.

“I’m a survivor, throw me into the jungle and I’m going out in a fur coat and a headband that I made out of some leaves,” Bridgewater said earlier this season. “It’s about surviving at this point. Every day, I have my fire lit and it’s like God is putting me in different positions for a reason. I’ve had an impact everywhere I’ve been, some in the field, others. off the field “.