Round one goes to Cassel

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If the Vikings have a genuine competition at quarterback, and not simply a rigged, confidence-building exercise for the preordained rookie, veteran Matt Cassel has claimed victory in the first live action against a defense that was allowed to actually touch the signal-caller.

The consensus is that Cassel outplayed Teddy Bridgewater, who was shaky and uneven in his first NFL game.

“I thought he did a great job,” coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the game regarding Cassel.  “He made a couple big throws I believe on third down.  He played like a veteran, he had control in the huddle, the communication between Norv [Turner] and Scott [Turner] and him was very, very good.  We will get Adrian back in there and I think that’ll help some.”

If playing like a veteran is an important factor in Zimmer’s assessment, Cassel definitely won the round.

“There was a couple times in the game when he just didn’t act like a veteran,” Zimmer said of Bridgewater.  “Things happened that he hadn’t see before, and so those are all great experiences for him.  He made some great throws and there was a couple mishaps he had, but I think Teddy is going to be a great player.”

The crowd at TCF Bank Stadium apparently agreed, based on the chants that rang out for the rookie.

“Usually the backup quarterback is always the favorite guy, right?” Zimmer joked.  “They should be excited about Teddy. They are going to be cheering for him for a long, long time.”

He’ll get his second chance to secure the starting job in the second week of the preseason.  Zimmer predicts that Bridgewater will improve quickly.

“He was excited to play but there were little bitty things that he needs to smooth out and just get a little bit more composed, but that comes with getting out there on the field,” Zimmer said.  “He was pretty pumped up for him. He’ll be fine, he’ll be even a lot better next week.”

Bridgewater acknowledges that the NFL presents a significant adjustment.

“The speed,” Bridgewater told reporters regarding the biggest difference in the college and NFL game.  “Like I said earlier in the week, ‘open’ in the National Football League isn’t ‘open’ how it was in college.  Guys aren’t going to be wide open in the National Football League because guys are playing pretty tight coverage. Everything is happening faster, so that has been the biggest transition so far.”

The sooner Bridgewater can adjust, the faster he’ll be playing.  But the clock is ticking quickly, too, with only two more preseason opportunities to overcome Cassel, assuming the decision will be made before the preseason finale, a game that rarely includes first-string players.

78 responses to “Round one goes to Cassel

  1. The only bad decisions Teddy made throughout the games was holding onto the ball too long at times. Most Viking fans knew that coming in because that’s been the main point of emphasis with him in training camp. Making quicker decisions.

    Shoutout to Norv for calling more plays in this 1 pre-season game than Musgrave did the entire year last year.

    Zimmer seems to be shaping the defense nicely.

  2. Teddy didn’t play terrible. He made mistakes young QBs make. There was no daylight between him and Cassell.

    Tie goes to the rookie. Everyone knows that. Most of Bridgewater’s completions came on check-downs, indicating he understood the situation from reading the defense and taking what they gave him.

    Saying Cassell “played like a veteran”, is not a ringing endorsement, but good for him, since he is a veteran. Bridgewater’s biggest fight is with the media, who write with a negative slant.

  3. Not sure if I’d cheer or jeer at this…

    But since I’m not a Queens fan, I’ll laugh! Cassell is so overrated, I wouldn’t want either of these clowns as my QB! He had a good season with the Patriots in 2008, and people think he’s a stud??

  4. Cassel looked solid, don’t get me wrong. However Rudolph was literally wide open, Cordarrelle made some very impressive catches, and his one incompletion was putrid at best (overthrew a wide open Jennings by 5 yards). This drive showed the good Cassel, but let’s not pretend Cassel isn’t what we already know he is.

    Bridgewater on the other hand looked very conservative. I think part of this was on him, and part was on the coaching staff. 2/3 plays were running plays when Teddy was in the game, however, on the pass plays, I felt he had a tendency to check the ball down. Sometimes that’s the right decision, but I felt there had to be some bigger plays down the field (particularly on that 2nd and 1 in the 3rd quarter where he nicely rolled out to the right and had all day, but instead rushed into checking it down to a double covered guy for an incompletion. Those are the type of plays Aaron Rodgers throws 30-40 yard TDs).

  5. Bridgewater played okay for a rookie, but I’m kind of glad didn’t look too good compared to Cassel because I don’t want the coaches to be tempted to start him too early. There’s no rush. Let him get used to what it means to be an NFL quarterback for a while during the regular season, let him get some mop-up work in, then start him if the season gets out of hand or if Cassel isn’t doing well. This offense is talented enough that a guy like Cassel can do just fine leading it.

  6. Jeez, if Teddy is one of the top 3 QBs in the league — as we’ve heard over and over and over and over (and over) from some quarters here, then Cassel must be the second coming of Sid Luckman and Sammy Baugh.

  7. The biggest transition issue for rookie QBs is the speed of the game.

    Matt Cassell hasn’t lived up to any starting QB expectations since he left New England.

    They could start Cassell this season and try to fight for a wild card spot or see if Bridgewater can grow into a franchise QB.

    Personally I like to see what Bridgewater can do over the course of the season.

  8. i will repeat from what ShAaron had accomplished his 1st go:
    ” In his first NFL game, Rodgers completed two out of seven passes and was sacked twice. He continued to struggle through the preseason, before ending the preseason by converting two third downs and throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Ben Steele against the Tennessee Titans.”

    You’re welcome, gbtrolls. And to think you’re voted the “most knowledgeable football fans” is in all actuality a fallacy.

  9. After watching this game, the Vikings actually look like they could be competive. My Packers still win the division but the Vikings could defenitely have 7 to 10 wins. Teddy reminded me a bit of Aaron Rodgers in his first season as a starter, calm but held onto the ball a bit too long. The Packers and Vikings rivarly looks like it will be good once again.

  10. tokyofilthblaster says: Aug 9, 2014 10:34 AM

    The Bridgewater apologists will now claim that he just needs more time.

    Maybe next year.

    LOL. Rookie passer, 1st pre-season game. Needs more time is an apologist take? Troll.

  11. seems to me to many people have expectations way to high for this bridgewater kid, let him play in the preseason, let him make mistakes, bench him for a year. Why must he be the starter his rookie year? does someone have alot of money riding on that?

  12. Best thing for Bridgewater would be to ride the boards for a year or two.

    Like Aaron Rodgers.

    Except Bridgewater doesn’t have a first ballot hall of famer to watch and from whom to learn the ropes.

  13. The primary takeaway from this game should be the performance of the defense. Oakland didn’t cross the 50 until late in the first half and didn’t score until less than 2 minutes were left. You can’t draw firm conclusions from the preseason but I don’t think there’s any doubt that the defense will be vastly improved from last year. Who the quarterback is doesn’t matter as much if the defense can avoid giving away games like last year.

  14. The Vikings QB competition is super exciting to watch! And by ‘exciting’ I mean ‘laughable’.

  15. I am highly skeptical that Bridgewater will ever be a good NFL quarterback. I think he would have particular problems playing outdoors in Minnesota ending completion of the new stadium.

  16. Wow – so a guy with many years of playing in the NFL played better than a dude in his very first game.

    Way to go out on a limb there with your analysis. Were you expecting another Fran Tarkenton the first time out?

  17. The Vikings’ TV broadcasting crew could not have been more annoying. Awful. Gave me a headache.

  18. The Packers were shut out by the Cardinals in their first preseason game last year, so I’m not too worried. It was nice to see the first-team offense, sans AD, score a touchdown with ease on the first series.

  19. 1. Nobody thinks Cassel is the answer quarterback. However, he may give the Vikes the best chance to win right now.

    2. Aaron Rodgers was so good as a young quarterback that he sat on the bench for how many years before he started — I forgot. Someone please help me.

  20. It warms my heart to hear the Viking trolls pronounce Cassel as the day 1 starter over Bustwater. Just further proof that this franchise simply doesn’t recognize what a true NFL QB looks like.

    And to think the Vikings had 2 first round picks and let Rodgers sit in the Green Room all the way till the 24th pick. There is a God in heaven.

  21. Remember Viking fans, it’s never too early to start working on your 2015 mock drafts.

    Last place, for the 4th time in the last 5 years.

  22. The trolls didn’t watch the game based on their comments. Cassel played just like last year, some good some bad. Bridgewater wasn’t bad but not great. I was a little disappointed in McKinnon and the O-line. Doesn’t matter though because offense isn’t their problem, it’s the defense that will control the Vikings fate and it was hard to tell how well they played because the Raiders had lots of drops. Ponder was awful though. A replay of the last 3 years. A couple of good plays surrounding a what was that moment. Hope he gets it together one day. A new team. Musgrave ruined him mentally.

  23. Vikes fans; please do not think your defense holding the Raiders inside their own 50 for most of the first half is a good sign. It was the RAIDERS OFFENSE they were playing against. It’s like an 8 year old bragging about beating up a toddler.

  24. Aaron Rodgers was so good as a young quarterback that he sat on the bench for how many years before he started — I forgot. Someone please help me.

    That would be three years. And in his first preseason game, he was putrid. When he finally did get the chance to start in his fourth year, he led a 13-3 team to a 6-10 record. But by all means, everyone should continue to judge Bridgewater by his first preseason game.

  25. Relax, Florio. It’s only the first preseason game. And he’s only a rookie. Need I remind you that Aaron Rodgers didn’t have the best stats his first couple seasons in the NFL. Heck, Andrew Luck didn’t do the best his rookie season.

  26. I also enjoyed Teddy’s first play. He snapped the ball before the wideouts were set. Of course Paul Allen the moron said it was an offensive line penalty, but the receiver went in motion and Teddy snapped it before any one could reset out there.

  27. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Aug 9, 2014 10:27 AM

    Bridgewater played okay for a rookie, but I’m kind of glad didn’t look too good compared to Cassel because I don’t want the coaches to be tempted to start him too early. There’s no rush. Let him get used to what it means to be an NFL quarterback for a while during the regular season, let him get some mop-up work in, then start him if the season gets out of hand or if Cassel isn’t doing well. This offense is talented enough that a guy like Cassel can do just fine leading it

    Man this is too funny! All it took for you was one game to twist in the wind and say don’t rush him in to anything now. I am kind of glad he didn’t do too well???? Never heard more ridiculous spin! Even when the coaches were saying he has been slow to get it you were leading the parade on how fantastic he was doing assuring everyone he would do great and be week 1 starter. Well so far he has had 2 real tests and he received a F on 1 and a D on the other. I will give you credit for one thing you are at least here but please stay true to your convictions and stop the spin.

  28. I love how everybody needs instant success for a player to be any good. If you really watched Teddy he looked settled in the pocket and stepped up nicely. His first series he looked fine but they had 4 penalties in 5 plays.

    He will be jus fine. The GB rubes are worried and it shows by the posts.

  29. Rodgers and Bridgewater comparisons? Really? Bridgewater cant even compare to Cassell, looks to me he is on the same level as Ponder so please spare us the ridiculous talk.

  30. baby hands bustwater lived up to all the true predictions with his NFL debut.

    His finger extension supplements will take time to take effect, he couldn’t hold on to the ball, I feel bad for the lil fella….

  31. darkneptune73 says:
    Aug 9, 2014 12:32 PM

    The overreaction with Bridgewater is amazing. Why don’t we wait unil Week 3 to see if Bridgewater is worth starting the regular season?

    The overreactions came since the day he was drafted and what we all had to hear with all the boasting and how great he would be. Now that it is being thrown back in your faces you have no one to blame but your own purple posters but yet the loudest and most ridiculous ones are in hiding, who didn’t see that one coming.

  32. one preseason game, and vikings fans are already ready to put teddy on the bench. unreal.

  33. Either Bridgewater looked terrible but we can forget it because it’s the preseason or the defense did well to hold Oakland until the last bit of the game. You don’t get both Vikings fans.

  34. For all of the “it was his first game” apologists for Bridgewater… Bridgewater’s first game… 6/13, 49 yards, 1 fumble. Ponders first game (pre-season 2012) 4/9, 80 yards. Kinda seems the same, and we all know how well Ponder worked out.

  35. The first preseason game went pretty much how I anticipated it would in regards to the QB play. Cassel looked solid, not great but solid. Bridgewater has some typical rookie tendencies to work out but I liked his ability to move around in the pocket, as well as outside, he also didn’t seem to get too rattled with pressure in his face. I was most impressed by the defense. Even though the Raiders don’t have an explosive and shot themselves in the foot with penalties, the defense looks highly improved from last year. I am not saying we are instant nfc north champs but, if the Vikings keep improving on defense and can get consistent play from the QB we have a strong shot at cracking .500 even with a tough schedule.

  36. I remember Elway looked confused and got his butt kicked in a few pre-season games his first year before it all started to click.

  37. The Vikings new coaches are worth 3 more victories per year over the past coaches. And Cordarrelle Patterson is going to have a monster year. I said a 10-6 wild card spot is reality. I’m sticking with that.

  38. In Teddy We Trust says: Aug 9, 2014 3:53 PM

    I’ve consistently said from the start that Cassel should start Week 1 and that Bridgewater will someday be a star. Those are not mutually exclusive positions.

    However, “QB drafted by Rick Spielman and/or the Minnesota Vikings,” and “Star QB” ARE mutually exclusive.

  39. If teams have any brains they will have their QBs prepared with 4-6 years as a backup, that way when they emerge, it will be like instantly Brees caliber to run the team.

  40. I’ll say the same thing I’ll say if the Packers look awful:
    It’s a practice game. Means very little.

  41. Choosing between Cassel or Bridgewater is like choosing deck chairs for the Titanic. Do you want the sturdy old ones or do you want the untested new ones with the tiny arm rests?

  42. I bet Vikes fans are ecstatic that Ponder is basically out of the equation at this point. They are far better off right now than they were at this point last year just by default because Ponder is so bad.

  43. Cassell is the future of the franchise until they draft another QB in the first round. Maybe Dainty Fumblepepper will have a son who can be the next coming of Tarvaris Jackson, or Ponder or Frerotte or Johnson, or George, or Cunningham or Moon or McMahon or Gannon or Wilson or Kramer or Dils or Cuozzo or Kapp or Tarkenton?

    Wow, that’s a lot to live up to!

  44. For all those bashing Bridgewater, can you name just ONE rookie QB that was perfect in their first NFL preseason game?

    Yea, that’s what I thought…..

  45. There is no pressure on Bridgewater to start, not from the Vikings, only apparently from the media. “The clock is ticking quickly”. What?

    The guy just played his first pre-season game. If he sits all year so be it. Everyone knows he is the long term replacement, but Cassel led the team on a 70 yard scoring drive and looked great…without Peterson and only vanilla plays. Our offense wasn’t the problem last year (14th in the league with an OC who was as predictable as possible). The defense is where the clock is ticking and last night they didn’t give up a score until the last 2 minutes with our 3rd and 4th stringers in there. Oakland’s 1st string didn’t get a 1st down. Not bad.

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