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New Orleans Saints offense seeks to produce another smooth ride against Jacksonville

Saints 31 - Bucs  24 (W) 4-1

2019 New Orleans Saints
All Images Copyright Michael C. Hebert
Saints 31 - Bucs 24 (W) 4-1 2019 New Orleans Saints All Images Copyright Michael C. Hebert

With the keys to the New Orleans Saints offense in hand, Teddy Bridgewater hasn't been a reckless driver.

It's not as if he'd never driven and had no idea how an offense would handle, or the potential potholes presented by an opposing defense. So, in three games as the Saints' starting quarterback – three wins for the 4-1 team, entering Sunday's game against the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. – it stands to reason that a player who began the trip calmly only has evened his keel more.

Plus, the driving is a bit easier when the car has some of the Saints' parts.

"It is hard to measure (the confidence level), but I am just playing the game," Bridgewater said. "I am enjoying it. Living in the moment. I'm confident in doing so.

"These guys around here, we all feed off of each other and it's a confident group. So for me, I step into the huddle and I'm looking into the guys' eyes and you see those guys exuding that confidence. For me as a player, it's just like, 'Man, these guys are so confident that I'm going to have to be as confident as those guys.' "

It showed in its most productive form against Tampa Bay, with Bridgewater completing 26 of 34 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns, with an interception, in the 33-27 victory.

He was accurate on short, intermediate and long passes. He dropped in 42- and 34-yard deep balls to receiver Michael Thomas, found receiver Ted Ginn Jr. wide open down the middle on a 33-yard touchdown strike, and connected with tight end Josh Hill on another perfectly thrown ball for a 26-yard gain. Overall, Bridgewater had six completions of at least 15 yards against Tampa Bay.

Against Dallas, his longest completion was 20 yards and against Seattle, the longest was 29.

The Saints and Bridgewater sped up the tempo on offense – closer to the tempo at which the unit is accustomed to operating – and achieved the kind of production that the unit is accustomed to achieving.

"It's always great to see a guy go out and reach his potential," Ginn said. "We already knew what Teddy was about, we knew it was going to take a couple of weeks for him to get himself in a groove that he got himself into, and great things happen from this point on."

"Last week was definitely our best week establishing tempo," Bridgewater said. "Coach (Sean Payton) mentioned it, just having that tempo from the start. You could feel it all week last week when we were practicing and it transferred over to the game. We want to try to keep that tempo, keep that momentum going forward, and just keep trying to play fast.

"I've been feeling comfortable for the past couple of weeks. Like I've been saying each week, the gameplans change, you're facing different defenses, and each week presents different opportunities.

"Last week, we had an opportunity to push the ball down the field and enjoyed doing it. But we know each week's going to be a challenge. I felt in rhythm playing the game just taking the completions that were there and playing in rhythm on my feet and everything else took care of itself."

Ginn said the entire offense felt the vibe, jumping up to 33 points and 457 yards after totaling 32 points – 20 against Seattle (a punt return and fumble return for touchdowns contributed 13 points) and 12 against Dallas – and 531 yards combined in the previous two games.

"I think we just played together as a team," Ginn said. "We played together as an offense. When everybody does their job, things should be the right way. I think that's what happened – we all did our individual job to make the team look great.

"You try to get as much momentum from that last week as you can, but it's a new week. When you come into a new week, it's new guys, new situation, new deal. So you try to create the momentum throughout the week."

Create the momentum, and trust the guy who's responsible for driving.

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