Harrison Smith Talks About Teddy Bridgewater’s Improvements Coming Into Camp + Other Training Camp Notes
Entering his fourth year in the NFL, safety Harrison Smith has proven himself to be a talented player in the secondary that is very capable of reading an opposing quarterback. Smith has applied that same talent in assessing where second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is in his evolution as an NFL starting QB.
In an interview with Pete Prisco from CBS Sports, Smith commented about Teddy's progress in growing the mental part of his game, starting to do some of the cerebral things the greats do.
He's taken it a step further this year with his eyes. He looks guys off in the secondary. If there's one of us in the middle, he will move him out and open up the spot. You don't see many guys his age doing that. He's already thinking, looking and finding out where we are and then using his eyes. When he came in last year as a rookie, he was so far along. But this is really taking the next step.
The optimism from players and coaches about Teddy's progress and growth as a leader on the team extends all the way to the top, with head coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer commented to Prisco about Teddy's comfort and confidence in a leadership role with the team, saying
The biggest difference I see in Teddy right now is his demeanor and the way the players gravitate towards him, and the confidence level the team has in him. They liked him last year, but when he started performing you could see their confidence in him go up.
With fans excited to see Bridgewater back on the field with a new set of offensive weapons on a national stage this weekend in the Hall of Fame Game, he offered a few comments today in a post walk-through presser at Vikings Training Camp. More than anything, he expressed a lot of excitement about being able to get back into football mode, game-planning for an actual game.
While Bridgewater entered last year's training camp behind Matt Cassel, he explained that he worked and prepared as though he was the starter. He said in the presser that the biggest thing that helped him grow last season was being thrown into the mix after Cassel went down due to injury. Entering camp this year, that starting experience and knowing the offense is now his has given him a little different approach, but the hungry, competitive, starter mindset is still there.
When asked about his comfort level behind an offensive line that allowed a lot of sacks and pressure last season, Teddy expressed confidence in what he called a "new and improved offensive line" and took on some blame for the number of sacks based on decision making.
Fans will get a look at Teddy and the rest of the Vikings on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the Hall of Fame Game at 7pm (central time) in Canton, Ohio. The game will be broadcast on NBC.