Broncos GM George Paton Has a Message for Teddy Bridgewater Doubters

Teddy Bridgewater Drew Lock

Getty Quarterbacks Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater warm up at Lumen Field on August 21, 2021, in Seattle, Washington.

In his first season as General Manager of the Denver Broncos, George Paton has had his plate full.

The former Minnesota Vikings executive had to preside over the contract option of Von Miller, re-sign key pieces, including All-Pro Justin Simmons, and deal with free agency, in which cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby were added. Oh, and a quarterback battle. You may have heard a little about it?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, gunslinger Drew Lock was ousted from the starting quarterback position by the more experienced and conservative veteran Teddy Bridgewater. Many within Broncos Country were enraged — and still are — with the decision-making of Paton and head coach Vic Fangio.

Forgotten ‘Pro Bowl’ Teddy

Those still disappointed, listen up. Paton believes the team is in good hands with Bridgewater under centre, explaining what he saw during camp and why the Broncos left Lock to warm the bench at Mile High.

“We had a great quarterback competition,” Paton told Nick and Cecil on 104.3 The Fan, September 1.

“With Drew and Teddy, I thought they brought out the best in each other. I think it’s the best each of them have played, this is the best I’ve seen Drew Lock play, it’s the best Teddy’s played since he was a Pro Bowl player.

“I think people forget he was a Pro Bowl quarterback. He took the Vikings to the playoffs, they were 11-5, had almost a career-ending injury, came back [and] went 5-0 in New Orleans, [in] Carolina he started off really good then hurt his knee and they struggled a little bit. But this guy is a winner, he’s a winner, he’s a leader.

“We have a young offense, and when you look at Jeudy, he’s 22, Hamler’s 22, we’ve got a young centre. We have a young offense overall, 21-year-old Javonte Williams and a guy like Teddy can bring these guys together, stabilize this offense. Teddy moves the team and I think he’ll be happy. I’m excited to see Teddy go out there Week 1 and like I said, Teddy’s a winner and he’s going to lead us this year.”

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Since the New England Patriots released Cam Newton and appointed first-round draft choice Mac Jones as their starting quarterback, sections of Broncos Country have questioned the decision to draft cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who went six picks prior at ninth overall.

Paton didn’t directly address the Jones/Surtain II decision, nor was he asked to, though he did shed some light on the importance of fit and what the drafting process looks like inside Englewood.

“Obviously you want the best player, you want the best player but you want the best person, the best worker, all the intangibles but if he doesn’t fit what you’re doing on offense or defense it’s not going to help the player [and] it’s not going to help your team,” Paton told Nick and Cecil.

“Fit is huge. Sometimes guys are so talented they can play in any scheme, those are the guys you want. The Surtain [II’s] of the world, Justin Simmons’ of the world, Javonte Williams’ of the world, those guys will fit in any scheme. You know, you have to be really careful you can’t just get the best player, you have to get the best player for your team.”

Starters and All-Pro’s are essential to any team’s success, that much is blatantly obvious, though often the unheralded players on a roster will play a much bigger role than what’s seen to the naked eye. This notion isn’t lost on the Broncos GM who explained his philosophy on building a winning roster.

“It’s a big puzzle,” Paton revealed. “A guy may be your third or fourth safety but if he can’t play on special teams [then] he can’t help you game day.

“The hard part of putting the roster together is getting the best offense, the best defense, but also helping your special teams because you need to win in all three phases to win in this league. That’s the challenge of my job or a scout’s job or a coach’s job.”

Paton nor Broncos Country have forgotten how far the team has fallen since Von Miller dominated Super Bowl 50 and brought Denver its third Lombardi Trophy.

“We need to set the winning standard, obviously they haven’t won here in five years and I think it was really important to have a really successful preseason, winning is contagious. I think we’re on the right track.”

Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic

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