Teddy Bridgewater: 'I probably should have just shut it down' after Week 10 knee injury

Teddy Bridgewater's season with the Carolina Panthers hit a snag in Week 10 when they faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The quarterback injured his right knee during that game and had to sit out the following week. When he returned in Week 12, he wasn't the same player as he was before, and his effectiveness continued falling though the end of the season. 

Bridgwater is with the Denver Broncos now, but he's still thinking about what happened with the Panthers last year. 

“Honestly, last year man, when I look back, I think for like the first eight weeks, the first seven weeks of the season, I think I was playing some really good football,” Bridgewater told the Charlotte Observer. “We had guys who were having career years.

“I think once we played Tampa that second game, and I took a shot, I probably should have just shut it down for the rest of the season, but I just love this game and I never take it for granted. So, right now I’m just at that point where I feel really good mentally, spiritually, physically. Every day I come here, I got a smile on my face.”

You can see how Bridgewater's knee injury affected him in the stats. The biggest difference between his stats from the first 10 games and the last five is in completion percent. In the first 10 games of the season, he completed 71.12 percent of his passes. In the five games he played after his knee injury, he completed 62.96 percent of his passes.

Bridgewater says he's feeling like 2015 version of himself

Bridgwater's career trajectory dramatically changed in 2016. In 2015, he led the Minnesota Vikings to an 11-5 record and a division title. Then, in the summer of 2016, he tore his ACL and lost nearly two full seasons. He hasn't recaptured the magic he had in 2015, but he's feeling closer to it than ever. 

"Right now, I'm just at that point where I feel really good," Bridgewater told Broncos.com after the first practice of minicamp. "[I] feel good mentally, spiritually, physically. Every day I come here, I have a smile on my face. [The] energy is positive here, and it's first class. So being in that type of environment, you have no choice but to feed off that energy. I'm feeling like … if you want me to say I feel like 2015, then I do. I'm just a couple years older, and it takes a little longer for me to get warmed up. I feel pretty good."

Bridgewater is competing with Drew Lock for the starting job in Denver. If he's feeling like the 2015 version of himself, Lock will need to bring his A-game. 

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