Matt Rhule is not concerned with the conversation surrounding new Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his past history throwing downfield -- or lack thereof.
"I don't really listen, hear those things," the first-year Carolina head coach said Thursday, per the Panthers' official site. "Teddy, for us, is exactly what we want."
"He certainly has the arm strength to do it," Rhule added. "But I think he's done what he's been asked to do."
What Bridgewater was asked to do in five starts last season for the Saints was take care of the ball and keep the New Orleans offense afloat in relief of an injured Drew Brees -- and he did that with aplomb. Bridgewater went 5-0 as Brees rehabbed a broken thumb, throwing nine touchdowns to just two interceptions over that span to go along with 1,205 passing yards and a 69.7 completion percentage.
The one thing Bridgewater wasn't asked to do, however, was consistently test opponents deep. Per Next Gen Stats, Bridgewater ranked last in average intended air yards (6.2) and third to last in average completed air yards (4.6) among quarterbacks with a minimum of 128 pass attempts in 2019. Some of that can be attributed to the Saints' scheme as Brees posted similar splits last year (6.7 IAY and 5.2 CAY).
Judging off the quotes from Rhule, however, expect to see Bridgewater airing it out more under new Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady to take advantage of a trio of receivers with big-play potential.
"I think one of the great things that's one of the strengths of our team is that Robby Anderson's a deep-play threat. Curtis Samuel is a deep-play threat. DJ Moore is a deep-play threat," Rhule said. "So we feel like we have the power to be able to take advantage of throwing the ball downfield, and we know Teddy can do that."