Bridgewater, who was traded to the Denver Broncos shortly after the Panthers acquired Sam Darnold from the New York Jets in a trade last month, was critical of Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady during an appearance on the “All Things Covered” podcast.
“I’ll just say this, for Joe Brady’s growth, that organization, they’ll have to practice different things in different ways,” he said. “One of the things we didn’t do much of when I was there, we didn’t practice two-minute, really. We didn’t practice red zone.”
Bridgewater contributed the unusual practice style to wanting to “keep guys healthy.”
“You didn’t practice on Fridays there, but you walk through the red-zone stuff and then Saturday you come out and practice red zone. But you’d only get like 15 live reps. Guys’ reps would be limited.”
Rhule defended the organization late Wednesday, saying the practices are designed to “push” the players in “a really smart way.”
“I’m not going to delve into specifics about our process, some of that is specific to us,” he said, via the team’s website. “But I feel really good about our preparation, and the amount of work our coaches put in and the amount of work our players put in. The amount of practice work, I think we push them in a really smart way.”
He continued: “When you have 140 guys in a locker room, guys will disagree on some things sometimes. You can’t ask everyone to agree with everything. . . . But I feel really good about what we do, I want to make sure to say I feel really good about the way we practice and our process. I’m disappointed to hear he didn’t feel the same way.”
Carolina was 28th in the league in red-zone efficiency last year with Bridgewater throwing five interceptions inside opponents’ 20-yard line.
Rhule might disagree with the assessment but it didn’t stop him from expressing his respect for Bridgewater, calling him the “ultimate professional” and a “great dude.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.