After releasing the former face of the franchise, star Cam Newton, this offseason, most of the fanbase expected a complete tank job while riding out the season with Will Grier or worse at QB; then, the Panthers unloaded a three year, 63 million dollar deal for Teddy Bridgewater. Typically seen as a quality game manager, he needed a solid run game and good defense to win games. This offseason he was recognized for having time spent in the Joe Brady offense and his ability to protect the ball. With the offensive weapons Carolina possesses, it was his time to be QB1 in a QB friendly system.
Bridgewater came out flat this season, but that was to be expected due to his lack of preseason reps. He just needed time to work with his teammates, and they would right the ship. They did and rattled off three straight wins versus bad teams before running into a five-game buzz saw that resulted in losses.
PJ Walker came in for the Panthers versus the Lions for the win, which makes Teddy the loser of six straight games. In those six games, he’s turned the ball over five times. On top of the turnovers, his biggest flaw is glaring to even the most average of fans: his arm strength. He has no zip on any passes, he has no ability to push the ball down the field, and when he does, it’s typically in a spot that his WR can’t even make a play on the ball. Fans had to watch him miss two easy touchdowns to DJ Moore yesterday alone, and the deep ball he completed to Robby Anderson would have been a touchdown had he lead more to the inside of the field.
He has average at best athleticism to get out of the pocket, and when he gets time in the pocket, he still tends to check-down quicker than expected. Another huge issue is to play clock management. There are zero excuses to take the play clock down to one second every play, and frequently results in a wasted timeout (see Minnesota game).
Teddy is by no means the only reason for the Panther’s season being about what was expected. The Panther defense has not been good all season, but it’s hard to watch some of these losses and think they could not have been won with a quality QB as five of the losses ended on the final possession in the hands of the Panthers. The Teddy Fatigue is gaining a lot of steam within the fanbase, and with the Panthers currently picking at #6 this draft, even the most avid Teddy supporter has to be thinking there’s a chance they take a QB.
They could very well draft one and stash him for one season behind Teddy or come in if necessary next season. His contract allows for an opt-out after the 2021 season with just a five million cap hit, which if they can’t find a trade partner for him, it would be an easy decision to cut instead of paying him 21 million. I don’t know that the coaching staff is ready to quit on him just yet, but it absolutely has to be on their minds already.