Saints head coach Sean Payton said Thursday that Bridgewater is locked in as the team's top backup quarterback and would be first in line to start if Drew Brees were unavailable at any point this season, Luke Johnson of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Given that second-year signal-caller Taysom Hill is unproven at the NFL level outside of preseason action, there was never much doubt that Bridgewater would capture the top backup role after the Saints acquired him from the Jets on Aug. 29. It's more noteworthy, however, that Payton indicated Bridgewater entered Week 1 as the team's top backup, with the coach praising the 25-year-old for how quickly he picked up the playbook. Though Bridgewater has apparently impressed the Saints' staff in practices and in the film room, it's difficult to envision him logging meaningful snaps this season with Brees being one of the NFL's more durable starters over the last several years.
With Sam Darnold making a bid for the starting job and Josh McCown also on their roster, the Jets always figured to explore trade options for Bridgewater, who boosted his value by completing 28 of 38 passes for 316 yards with two touchdowns and one interception this preseason. The 26-year-old isn't exactly getting the opportunity he'd been hoping for, as he'll be stuck behind Drew Brees in New Orleans this season. It's unclear if the Saints view Bridgewater as a potential long-term successor or merely a one-year insurance policy. Whatever the case, Bridgewater is signed to a one-year, $6 million contract, of which $500,000 has already been paid by the Jets.
The quarterback competition between Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold may still be ongoing, as SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano reports that coach Todd Bowles won't name a starting quarterback until at least "sometime next week".
Darnold certainly appears to be the frontrunner for the job after playing the entire first half in each of the team's past two preseason contests, but Bowles remains against pulling the plug on the quarterback competition in New York. The Jets are likely interested in dealing Bridgewater for a high draft pick if another team's quarterback goes down, so it's still possible he opens the year as the starter to showcase his skills. On the other hand, Bridgewater has only played 16 percent of first-team reps in camp while usually working with backups in the preseason, so the lack of experience with the first unit doesn't bode well for his chances of winning the job.
Josh McCown took a seat Friday for the second straight preseason game, as coach Todd Bowles allowed Bridgewater and rookie first-round pick Sam Darnold a half each to make their case for a potential starting job to open the season. For the second straight week, the battle was more or less a draw, although unlike Darnold, Bridgewater was unable to get the offense into the end zone. He did lead an impressive 13-play, 78-yard march over a 6:24 stretch of the fourth quarter, moving the ball all the way down to the Giants two-yard line before throwing incomplete to Thomas Rawls on third down. Heading into next Thursday's preseason finale against the Eagles, the Jets' starting quarterback job appears to still be firmly up for grabs, making it likely both Bridgewater and Darnold see plenty of snaps versus Philadelphia.
Bridgewater completed 10 of 15 passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Thursday's 15-13 loss to Washington. He also rushed once for four yards in the Week 2 preseason contest.
Bridgewater played the entire second half after rookie Sam Darnold got all three of New York's first-half possessions. The highlight of Bridgewater's night was a 16-yard touchdown pass to Charone Peake. Josh McCown didn't get any reps at all in this one, so it's difficult to judge the status of New York's three-man quarterback competition at this point. Bridgewater's definitely in the mix to be the Week 1 starter, though.
|14||12/9/18||@ TB||Won 28-14|
|15||12/17/18||@ CAR||8:15 pm|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||4||0||1||0||0.0||0||0.00||0||0||0||0/0||0||0||39.6|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||4||0||7||-7||-1.0||-1||0||0||0|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||4||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|