On Tuesday, the NFL released the 2019 Preseason schedule. The Saints will play their four preseason games against mostly familiar faces including a growing nemesis and a friendly foe while also traveling across the country for a couple of coast-to-coast back-to-back away games.
Week 1: vs. the Minnesota Vikings (August 8-12)
Week 2: @ the Los Angeles Chargers (CBS – 3PM CST, August 18th)
Week 3: @ the New York Jets (August 22-25)
Week 4: vs. the Miami Dolphins (August 29 or 30)
While the dates aren’t all specifically set, the Saints will see one nationally televised game on August 18th against their familiar preseason friends the Los Angeles Chargers. The last two years the Saints have played the Chargers and also held joint practices with them. That usually makes for an exciting series of the QB Competitions that week as Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers lead their respective squads which will this year include Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor. If that does not make you excited to watch those videos throughout the week, I worry for your sense of joy. Should be a ton of fun.
Stepping back to Week 1 though is where the meat for this article is. You’ll notice a through line a in games one, three, and four. Week 1 against the Vikings pits Teddy Bridgewater against this former team. The team that drafted him out of Louisville in 2014. The team with which he was practicing when he had his catastrophic knee injury in 2016 and the team that declined his fifth-year option the next year and sent him to Free Agency after the 2017 season. Bridgewater played only one game that 2017 season, but over his two full years with the Vikings he had a 64.9% completion rate and averaged 3,075 yards a season while the offense relied heavily still on Adrian Peterson’s legs. Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 season in 2015 getting them to the playoffs. Since that playoff game, which the Vikings lost 17-24 against the Seahawks, he’s played in two regular season games. The one in 2017 for Minnesota against the Bengals in which he threw two passes and Week 17 of last season with the Saints against the Panthers where his performance was limited by the lack of offensive line. Bridgewater lit up the preseason last year, I’m certain he’ll be excited to do it again against his former team.
Bridgewater spent 2018’s offseason with the New York Jets who he’ll see at least some second half action against in the Saints’ Week 3 exhibition at MetLife Stadium. Bridgewater’s first action came to the tune of 7 completions on 8 attempts for 87 yards, a touchdown, and a 150.5 passer rating against the Falcons. A man after every Saints fan’s heart. He finished up the preseason with 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception while completing an outstanding 73.7% of his passes along with a 104.7 passer rating for the preseason. Teddy’ tenure came to an end in New York before the regular season began when the Saints moved a third-round pick to get him to New Orleans. One of the best moves the Saints made throughout the season if for nothing else besides having a steady backup option behind Brees though now it looks like Bridgewater is willing to wait for his opportunity to take over the reigns for the franchise once Brees retires. Bridgewater will now get a shot at the team he played so well for in the preseason when the Saints head to New York/New Jersey to take them on in Week 3 of the preseason. Though he may have to wait a half as that third preseason game usually supplies fans with a first-half look at the starters. But I’m going to bet we start seeing a shift in that routine here soon.
Then the preseasons closes out with what I think will be the best of Bridgewater as the Saints host the Miami Dolphins. We won’t see any starters this game as the guys fighting to survive the 90 to 53-man roster cut down will get the most action here. But getting Bridgewater out on that field will be a benefit to those guys. Bridgewater then gets to take on the team that made a late Free Agency push to lure him away from New Orleans and to his home city of Miami. Bridgewater turned Miami down exactly 13 years, to the day, that Drew Brees signed with the Saints in 2006 after not being cleared by Miami’s medical staff only to go on and become a Hall of Famer in black and gold. Teddy tweeted that he hoped the fortunes would play out in his favor similarly. Though he might not get a ton of snaps, he’ll potentially get to close out the preseason against the team he and Brees were fortunate enough to avoid in favor of New Orleans.
So watch this year’s preseason intently. Not only to evaluate the Saints depth and role players. But also for the added bonus of watching the Teddy Bridgewater reunion tour as he takes on a run of teams with which he has interesting history.