The Carolina Panthers head into this season with a list full of firsts. It will be the first season under new head coach Matt Rhule and the first season with free-agent signee Teddy Bridgewater under center.
Bridgewater, 27, has been through a lot in his NFL career. He has fought back from injury and learned under some of the best NFL minds. The Panthers hope that Bridgewater stabilizes their offense this season.
The former Louisville quarterback brings starting experience with 34 NFL starts. He started two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings and compiled a 17-11 record. Last season, Bridgewater filled in for Brees for five games and the New Orleans Saints won each game. He finished with 1384 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions.
The Panthers are excited to have Bridgewater in the fold. They rewarded him with a three-year, $63 million deal this offseason.
While Bridgewater is supremely talented, it is his character that really appeals to Rhule and his coaching staff. In an interview on NFL Network’s Around the NFL on Friday, Rhule discussed how Bridgewater displays ideal leadership qualities.
I believe so wholeheartedly in who he is as a quarterback, Rhule said. I believe in his abilities, I believe in his arm strength, I believe in his accuracy, I believe in his decision-making but, beyond that, I know he’s going to make everyone else that much better.
Rhule is focused on building a solid foundation in Carolina. He created an open dialogue in meetings and wants his players to chime in with questions on different schemes and concepts that they are learning.