Teddy Bridgewater is about making every rep count—virtual or otherwise.
Bridgewater says he’s imported the entire Vikings playbook into the game and will be using it to get “virtual reps” before the team reconvenes in July for training camp.
“It helps you because you get one more rep than you had in practice, actual practice,” Bridgewater told Goessling. “Any chance you get to take an extra rep or go the extra step, extra mile it’s going to be very beneficial transferring it to the field.”
It sounds like a clever excuse to play video games for Bridgewater, and maybe it is. The crazy part, however, is it also might work.
Simulating his team’s offense against virtual defenses isn’t a new tactic for Bridgewater. Goessling reports, via MMQB's Greg A. Bedard, that the former Louisville quarterback did the same thing while leading the Cardinals, uploading his team’s playbook verbatim into an NCAA football game and playing upcoming opponents over and over.
“I try to take as many reps as I can, whether it’s on a video game, playing EA Madden Football or in the playbook, just drawing it or just visualizing it in my head,” Bridgewater said. “I try to just maximize every rep I can get and every opportunity I can take.”
Bridgewater isn’t the only player to claim they’ve benefited on the field by playing video games. Goessling writes that big league pitcher Johan Santana learned about his opponents by playing an MLB game.
“Santana used to study hitters’ tendencies by playing as himself and facing them in a PlayStation game,” Goessling writes. “It’s another case of life-imitates-art-imitates-life.”
Indeed, perhaps technology has advanced to the point where video games can accurately provide insights on the realities they mimic.
Or perhaps Bridgewater just really likes Madden, and he’s convinced himself it helps him to read defenses. In any event, at least he’s not learning from NFL Blitz. Defenses figure you out quick when you go with “DA BOMB” every other play.
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