Like Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, Vikings rookie quarterback Tedd Bridgewater won’t start his team’s preseason opener. Like Manziel, Bridgewater will get some first-team reps in the first week of the preseason.
Via Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Zimmer made the announcement on Wednesday. And it’s no surprise. If a quarterback doesn’t take reps with the first team, the quarterback isn’t protected by the starting offensive line. Which puts the quarterback at greater risk of injury, especially since a backup linebacker struggling to win a job realizes that getting a clean, hard shot at a big-name rookie won’t hurt the backup linebacker’s chances of the witnesses.
Bridgewater could still be taking first-team reps as of Week One. Zimmer will be paying close attention to several factors in making that determination.
“How [Bridgewater] handles the game situations,” Zimmer said regarding things he’ll be watching. “When the lights come on, it will be a different deal. It will be good for him and how he reacts to seeing different defenses he hasn’t seen very much of, how he has to adjust to the blitz, get the ball out, make the right calls. How he plays under pressure. I anticipate he’s going to play very well.”
If he plays “very well” in games that don’t count, Bridgewater will greatly enhance his chances of playing at all in the games that do.