Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kurt Warner

Again, the Arizona Cardinals fans are making me feel like I am taking crazy pills.  The Cards were in the worst division in football this year, even worse than last year.  It was a foregone conclusion that they were playoff bound after about 6 games. 

Cardinal fans booed Warner, halfway through the season when he had a bad game, that really wasn’t as bad as it looked.  Cardinal fans talked like they were entitled to have an elite NFL team and every time the Cards lost a game, they acted as if the Cards of the last 30 years were back. 

But here is what I don’t get about Cards fans and the media in general.  How can we not be talking about how great Kurt Warner is?  I know Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in football, but can you see how Warner has made him even better?  Boldin and Breaston constantly play like elite receivers every week as well.  The reason why they are all so great is because the ball gets to the perfectly, almost every time. 

Warner is not a mobile quarterback, and he’s not 6’5” or anything.  He hangs out in a collapsing pocket every week and delivers the ball as precisely as Manning does.  Cards have been the worst rushing team for the last decade, mostly due to terrible offensive lines and partially due to their penchant for hiring 40 year old running backs and trying to give them 20 carries per game.  When Plummer was the quarterback, you’d see him running for his life from the moment of the snap.  I love Plummer and he did well with a non-existent o-line.  But look at Warner.  The guy comes in to back Leinart up and mentor him and all of a sudden starts throwing for 300 yards every game. 

The last time Warner threw the ball for a team with a real offensive line, he was MVP with the Rams winning the Superbowl.  Now here he is in AZ, the line is not good, but at least Beanie Wells can outrun some people and break tackles like no back they have had since Stump Mitchell can, they have a passable running game.  But Warner has taken his game to a whole new level.  And no one is writing about it.  If he had been healthy through the whole season without that concussion, he should have gotten offensive player of the year consideration and possibly some MVP talk.  But everyone is treating him like an adequate seasoned vet whose only job is delivering the ball to the freakish receivers.

Remember a couple of months ago when the Saints beat the Patriots, trounced them, and Brees had an amazing game.  Peter King said it may have been the greatest game by a quarterback ever.  It was a big pressure, proving moment for Brees, and he pulled out a great game.  I agree that game was an amazing game for Brees.  He torched a pretty good secondary and made them look awful. 

But let’s talk about Warner on Sunday.  The Packers have three of their cover guys in the Pro Bowl.  This is a pressure packed game where not only is your season done if you lose, but it might be Warner’s last game ever.  The NFL’s defensive player of the year Charles Woodson, is guarding your best receiver.  Your number 2 receiver is one the sideline with a sprain.  You have a team that can and does provide a constant pass rush.  And what does Kurt Warner do?

He goes 29 for 33, that’s 4 incompletions.  That’s one per quarter.  He throws for 5 touchdowns.  2 of them went to the Fitzgerald who was covered by Woodson. (people will say that Fitz pushed Woodson down on one of them, but the contact was more incidental and Woodson flopped a bit.)  He threw 2 touchdowns to Early Doucet who only caught one touchdown all season.  He threw for nearly 400 yards.  More touchdowns than incompletions, and he drove the length of the field in the 4th quarter to score a pressure packed touchdown, and drove the field again to get into field goal range with no time left for Rackers to miss the winning field goal.  So, tell me, why are we not talking about this as one of the best, high pressure games ever played by a quarterback?  I don’t get it.  How is it that Kurt Warner is not held up as the example of great NFL quarterbacks?  Farve got more MVP consideration playing with Peterson, an outstanding receiving corps and the best o-line in football. 

When Leinart came in, who many people consider the heir-apparent, the team went flatter than flat. 

All I am saying is… Warner should be a shoe-in hall of famer.  He won a Superbowl and has the three best Superbowl games by a qb (yardage wise) in NFL history.  He was a two time league MVP and with no help from the o-line or the front office, captained the Cards, the Arizona Cards to become a Superbowl team and elite team in the NFL. 

Ladies and Gentlemen.  Kurt Warner is as good as they get, and he is playing at a level rarely ever seen.  Why are fans not buying his jersey?  Why, only now that there are far fewer teams and players to write about, is Warner starting to get some notice from sports writers?  I just don’t get it.

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