Some coaches have mastered the art of locker-room speeches. Dan Campbell appears to be one of them.
Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said Campbell’s speeches always worked to fire up the team when Bridgewater was the Saints’ QB and Campbell was the tight ends coach, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“His energy is contagious and I’m pretty sure those players in Detroit love playing for him,” Bridgewater said, according to the report. “I was able to spend those two years with him in New Orleans and the things that he was able to do with those tight ends in that room — whenever he stood in front of the team and talked, you’re ready to just storm out of that meeting and punch a guy in the face for no reason.”
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Bridgewater spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in New Orleans, starting six games and appearing in eight more. During his two years there, he completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,502 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Bridgewater left the Saints in 2020 and signed a deal to be the quarterback of the Panthers. He went 4-11 with Carolina, passing for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 69.1 completion percentage. He was traded in the offseason to the Broncos. This season, he has 16 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and 2,775 passing yards with a 67.3 completion percentage.
Campbell had been with the Saints since 2016, when he was brought on to be an assistant head coach and tight ends coach. He coached there until the 2021 season, when he came to the Lions to be the head coach.
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Campbell shared praise for Bridgewater as well, reflecting on their shared time in New Orleans. Campbell said Bridgewater would take backups, younger players and practice squad players aside on Saturdays and run through routes and game plans with the players to make sure everyone was prepared for the upcoming game.
“And so, not only is he going through the game plan himself to prepare, he’s making these young guys grow,” Campbell said, according to the Free Press. “He’s developing these young guys. He was ultra-competitive on practice squad. Our defense hated him. They had friendly wagers on who would connect, who wouldn’t, who would score, who wouldn’t. It was very competitive, but he made everybody around him better. That, to me, that’s a sign of a winner.”
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The Lions, fresh off their first win of the season, will now have to contend with Bridgewater’s Broncos on Sunday.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Teddy Bridgewater because I think he’s a winner in this league,” Campbell said, according to the Free Press. “Man, he’ll hurt you in play-action pass. He’s going to be smart with the football. Even what happened last week (in the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs), they can possess the ball. We’ve got our hands full defensively.”