Former Vikings QBs unsure of Bridgewater's deep ball ability
MINNEAPOLIS--Warren Moon once was very effective throwing deep for the Vikings. So was Tommy Kramer. Now, both former Minnesota Pro Bowl quarterbacks wonder if Teddy Bridgewater will be able to do the same. Moon, who once had 33 touchdown passes ...
MINNEAPOLIS-Warren Moon once was very effective throwing deep for the Vikings. So was Tommy Kramer.
Now, both former Minnesota Pro Bowl quarterbacks wonder if Teddy Bridgewater will be able to do the same.
Moon, who once had 33 touchdown passes in a season for the Vikings, and Kramer, who once tossed 26, both like how the third-year man is progressing. Still, they say there is work to be done.
"One thing Teddy needs to do is drive the ball better down the field, and he showed it with the 49-yard touchdown pass (in the Aug. 12 preseason opener at Cincinnati),'' said Moon, a hall of famer who played for Minnesota from 1994-95. "That I think is the evolution of his game. If he can do that, he will make this offense much more explosive.''
Moon, a Seahawks radio analyst, was waiting to see if Bridgewater would build upon his preseason opener in last Thursday's second exhibition game at Seattle. However, Bridgewater sat out, with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer only saying it was his decision.
ESPN.com reported Friday that Bridgewater had a sore shoulder, and the quarterback didn't throw in practice Saturday. Zimmer said after the workout he has "no concern" about Bridgewater's health and he could have played against the Seahawks.
Moon saw Bridgewater against Seattle in a regular-season game last December and in the playoffs in January. The Vikings didn't score an offensive touchdown in either game, and Bridgewater's longest completion in either was 25 yards.
"He understands he's got to do a better job of pushing the ball down the field,'' Moon said. "He's very careful with the ball. He's very safe with the ball. He doesn't turn it over very much for a young quarterback, but he's got to take a few more chances down the field just so everything is not so methodical and they have to work so hard to get their scores.''
Kramer, who played for the Vikings from 1977-89, recently watched Bridgewater in training camp at Minnesota State Mankato. Kramer still sees issues with his mechanics.
"I think he's a good player,'' Kramer said. "The only thing that I didn't like about him was he was not coming over the top of the football throwing it deep. And therefore, that's why the balls would sail on him.
"(Bridgewater has) a real wrist-snap feel rather than coming over the top of it. If you played quarterback for as long as I did, you know how you're supposed to make that football come out of your hand.''
Minnesota has a well-regarded offensive coordinator in Norv Turner and an up-and-coming quarterbacks coach in his son, Scott Turner, who regularly work with Bridgewater on mechanics. Nevertheless, Kramer would be glad to offer his services.
"If they want me to come over there and help, I would be more than happy to come over and help out for three days,'' said Kramer, who lives in San Antonio but makes regular visits to Minnesota. "You just got to get that elbow up and come over the top of the football.''
Overall, though, Kramer likes how Bridgewater is developing.
"He's a hell of a quarterback,'' Kramer said. "I'm not saying that he's not. He's composed. He doesn't panic, and he keeps you in games. All those throws from five yards to 20 yards are good. The only trouble he has is the deep ball.''
Moon also says the pluses with Bridgewater far outweigh the negatives.
"Teddy really is the guy they're building off,'' Moon said. "He's a solid quarterback. I think he's going to get better and better, and I love his temperament. I love that (he's cerebral), I love the fact that he's a good leader.
"I think the guys really respect him in the locker room by how he works. He never gets too high or too low. ... You want your quarterback to be a stabilizing force.''
Moon has met the young quarterback several times and has dispensed advice. Once was at the 2015 Kentucky Derby, when Bridgewater served as grand marshal.
"He just told me to continue to just be myself and that's going to take me a long way,'' Bridgewater said. "He's obviously a guy that stayed true to himself and throughout his career, and look at it where it got him.''
Moon was with Minnesota for only two seasons, but he made his mark. With 4,264 yards in 1994 and 4,228 in 1995, he has had two of the three most prolific passing seasons in team history.