It's not just kneecaps opponents have to worry about when playing Dan Campbell-coached teams.
One of Campbell's former players with the New Orleans Saints said Campbell, now the Detroit Lions head coach, had him ready to disfigure a different body part.
"Dan, he’s awesome," Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater told reporters Wednesday. "His energy is contagious and I’m pretty sure those players in Detroit love playing for him. 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.”
Bridgewater played the 2018-19 seasons in New Orleans, when Campbell was the team's assistant head coach and tight ends coach.
He spent last season with the Carolina Panthers and was traded to Denver this offseason — after the Lions turned down a chance to acquire him as part of a trade for Matthew Stafford.
Stafford had a short list of preferred trade destinations that did not include Carolina. The Lions sent him to the Los Angeles Rams for three draft picks and quarterback Jared Goff. The Panthers offered Bridgewater and first- and fifth-round picks in 2021.
In 12 games with the Broncos (6-6) this season, Bridgewater has thrown for 2,775 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"I’ve got a lot of respect for Teddy Bridgewater because I think he’s a winner in this league," Campbell said. "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.”
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In New Orleans, Campbell said Bridgewater exuded leadership and was the type of player "who made everybody around him better."
"He was a guy that on Saturdays would pull all of the young guys out," Campbell said. "He was our backup quarterback, so he would take all of the young guys, all of the practice squad guys, any of the backups, and he would take them out and go through the whole game plan with them and run, run the routes, talk through them, talk to them, tell them what he wanted, everything.
"And so, not only is he going through the game plan himself to prepare, he’s making these young guys grow. 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.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Lions coach Dan Campbell gives great speeches, Teddy Bridgewater says