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    I don’t know. You don’t know. Take solace though. Even the Minnesota Vikings probably don’t know. Evaluating quarterbacks is an inexact science. More knowledgeable people than you and I have spent a fortune to find a franchise quarterback. Sometimes those failures are costly. When you miss at that position, it gets coaches and general managers fired.

    Teddy Bridgewater is easy to root for. He’s one of the most popular and important players in University of Louisville history. He quarterbacked the Cardinals to a football renaissance. He enriched Charlie Strong’s bank account. He also can be your prom date in a pinch. Will he have a good or possibly great NFL career? It’s going to take more than 14 professional starts to answer that question. Heck, we hadn’t fully declared Sam Bradford (No.1 overall pick in 2010) a bust until last week.

    Let’s examine what we do know:

    • Bridgewater, picked by Minnesota 32nd overall in the 2014 draft, seems to be trending in a positive direction. For his career, he’s completed 65.5 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns to 13 interceptions over 15 appearances.
    • The 2015 season is two games old. The sample size is too small to draw any major conclusions. Still, let’s dig deep into his numbers. To evaluate how Bridgewater has played thus far, depends on what statistic you value.
    • If you believe in NFL passer rating, Bridgewater ranks No.16th out of 34 quarterbacks. If you believe in the ESPN-created Total QBR, Bridgewater is No.10. In the Vikings’ 26-16 home victory over Detroit, he was 14 of 18 for 153 yards with a TD pass and ran for a score. The Minnesota Star Tribune reported Bridgewater posted a Total QBR rating of 98.5. The highest a quarterback can achieve is 99.9.
    • According to the report, there were only 12 individual games last season in which a QB had a higher number. No Viking passer has posted a better rating since the inception of Total QBR in 2006. But Total QBR is flawed because it doesn’t take into account quality of opponent. A better statistic might be DYAR. What’s DYAR? It’s a useful statistic from footballoutsiders.com. It’s roughly the football equivalent of baseball’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement). DYAR stands for Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement, measuring a quarterback’s performance compared to a replacement-level quarterback.  Nerdy enough for you?
    • Bridgewater rates No.23 in DYAR – so he’s got room to grow. (He’s ahead of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Joe Flacco (No.24), Russell Wilson (No.26) and Peyton Manning (No. 34 – dead last, egads!).
    • What does all this tell you? First, in football it’s difficult to evaluate talent. It’s not like baseball where you can isolate performance and know exactly how productive a player is. The good news for Bridgewater is that he’s young (He turns 23 in November). He has been accurate. His offensive coordinator is Norv Turner who is an even better quarterback teacher.

    This part of the country has not produced many good NFL quarterbacks over the past few decades. Among UofL, the University of Kentucky and Indiana University, IU’s Trent Green enjoyed the best career – and that was a long time ago. The former eighth-round pick in 1993, went to a couple of Pro Bowls with the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2000s.

    Now here comes Bridgewater. No one knows how good he’ll be. It should be fun to watch, though.

    Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings Facebook page.

    Michael Grant's picture

    About Michael Grant

    Sports reporter in Louisville. Film buff. Capricorn.

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