I’ve spent much of 2015 raving about Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s 2014 rookie season. While there’s been more impressive years for rookie passers, Teddy looked impressive behind a poor offensive line, playing like a competent starting QB.
The way Teddy finished his rookie season also deserves mention. In fact, his December puts him in some excellent company, as he is one of 20 quarterbacks since 1998 to post at least 7.0 yards per attempt in his debut December as a starter (minimum of 4 games). To make this list, this had to be the first season where the quarterback was the main starter throughout December, so needless to say I was pretty generous with adding a few QBs.
Take a look where Teddy ranks among other quarterbacks.
Take a look at who ranks 4th amongst all the field generals. Teddy Bridgewater himself with 9.2 Y/A in the month of December in 2014. Notice the company he’s with; Ben Roethlisberger posted insane Y/A numbers in his debut December. Of course we all know how great Kurt Warner and Russell Wilson were in their debut Decembers. Hell, Matthew Stafford threw 1,919 yards and 15 touchdowns in this month alone in 2011.
Obviously Brandon Weeden is not who we thought he was, as he actually posted very nice Y/A numbers in his debut December in Cleveland. Vince Young sustained a bit more success than Weeden as a starter, which doesn’t say a whole lot in the end if you think about it.
Does that mean Y/A is the ultimate “best QBs of December” stat? Not necessarily. Certain games can inflate a quarterback’s Y/A, whether increasing or decreasing it. As a result, there are a few outlier games on several QB’s resumes on this list.
However, notice how many guys on the list are still active starters. Who knows what the hell’s going to happen with Jay Cutler in the offseason, but otherwise most of the quarterbacks on this list are capable starters with a long history of sustained success. Chad Pennington’s 2002 season deserves recognition, as he was very good before injuries gave him an up and down (but respectable) career. Yes, Matt Schaub used to be a good quarterback before 2013, mind you.
Placing 4th in Y/A with this kind of criteria is big for Teddy Bridgewater, as he’s above a few guys that are top 10 active QBs (Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady. Joe Flacco is close to that group). Having viewed his film, I can vouch that his progression in December, while not unseen, was a treat to watch. His progression makes dealing with the offseason a lot less painful if you happen to be a Vikings fan.
We’ll see how far Teddy can take his team in the long run, but if this is of any indication, it should be something worth waiting for.