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  • Analysis of Warner Situation

    Fantasy Notebook: Fool Me Once, Shame On You. ...
    By Bob Harris - Senior NFL Analyst -

    Well, the latest reports filtering out of the Big Apple say Kurt Warner
    looked sharp during his initial mini-camp workouts this week. His passes
    were crisp and mostly on target. But as New York Daily News staffer Ralph
    Vacchiano noted, the surprise was that Eli Manning's passes looked even

    After struggling through his first mini-camp as a pro early last month,
    Manning put all that behind him Monday with a much-improved performance
    that caught the eyes of his coaches and teammates.

    According to Vacchiano, "his command in the huddle was better and he had a
    much greater knowledge of the offense. And as a result, he was able to
    show off the right arm that the Giants worked so hard to acquire in their
    blockbuster draft-day trade."

    Wow. Sounds pretty darned good. ...

    Unfortunately, Manning didn't fare as well Tuesday. Which should come as
    no surprise. Once again, we're talking about a rookie trying to get up to
    speed at the league's most difficult position to master.

    Which is why, I suspect, we'll see a growing media drumbeat surrounding
    the Warner/Manning competition with Warner putting increasing pressure on
    his younger teammate as he becomes familiar with the Giants' system and
    his NFL MVP experience begins to factor into the equation.

    But that doesn't mean I believe Warner is the best man for this job. Nor
    am I sure he's not. And I'm not alone in my confusion.

    In fact, after reviewing some of the opinions being floated by those "in
    the know," I've come to the conclusion that Warner is as mysterious to the
    rest of the world as he is to me.

    A sampling follows. ...

    In an article published Monday, Sports Illustrated insider Peter King
    advised readers: "I think Kurt Warner, whatever happens, will be a team
    player and will help Eli Manning as much as he can with the Giants. Warner
    is one of the few people I know in football who truly would help the guy
    behind him even if it meant it might hurt his situation."

    But former Giants quarterback Phil Simms disagreed.

    "The perfect guy (for the Giants) was Neil O'Donnell," Simms told the
    Newark Star-Ledger. "It's not a knock against Kurt, but the agendas are
    different. Kurt Warner still wants to be a franchise quarterback. He wants
    to be the guy. ... Kurt Warner will give information to Eli, but he's
    going to be more concerned about his performance, his knowledge and what
    he's doing."

    Another Sports Illustrated writer, NFL guru Paul Zimmerman, took things a
    step further, reminding readers: "I (advised) the Giants not to sign
    Warner, because 1) his hand wasn't right, which was why he couldn't grip
    the ball correctly and why he fumbled six times in last year's opener, and
    2) he had turned weird and resentful, and someone had to keep him away
    from Marc Bulger on the sidelines during games."

    Weird and resentful, eh? A harsh assessment, and one that New Orleans
    Times Picayune staffer Brian Allee-Walsh doesn't seem to buy into.

    "Granted, Warner turns 33 on June 22 and has not won a game as a starter
    since the NFC championship game of the 2001 season." Allee-Walsh suggested
    last weekend. "But the two-time league MVP has a serious chip on his
    shoulder after losing his job to Marc Bulger in St. Louis.

    "Warner's signing allows first-year coach Tom Coughlin a viable option
    under center if Manning should stumble early. Plus, Warner's presence
    should make Manning a better player. Warner led the Rams to two Super
    Bowls and was instrumental in their victory against Tennessee in Super
    Bowl XXXIV.

    "I like players who have something to prove."

    Newsday columnist Bob Glauber wasn't as optimistic.

    "Warner is kidding himself if he thinks he can get back to where he once
    was," Glauber wrote shortly after the news conference announcing the
    signing. "Once he steps onto the field against the blitz-happy Eagles in
    the regular-season opener Sept. 12, you will see the same problems that
    led to Warner's fall from grace.

    "You will see him lock on to receivers the way he did during his difficult
    times in St. Louis. You will see him get jittery under a heavy rush. And
    with the shaky offensive line the Giants figure to have, Warner certainly
    can't expect the kind of protection that once gave him time in his
    seven-step drops to fuel the Rams' high-octane attack. It doesn't help
    that the Giants are without the collective speed and talent around Warner
    that he enjoyed with the Rams."

    Points taken. ... But not by senior writer Pete Prisco, who
    cited an unnamed NFL scout as saying: "If healthy, he still has a chance
    to be really good. I think if he gets protected he can still be very
    efficient. You can't count him out. He's overcome so much, there's no way
    you can just count him out."

    Prisco summed up by predicting Warner "will be the starter for at least
    this year, giving him a chance to prove wrong all that foolish talk he is
    finished. Fantasy owners take note: Warner will be a steal."

    Sounds like a bit of reach to me. Looking for a more moderate view? Look
    no further than Sporting News columnist Dan Pompei, who recently advised
    readers: "There still is hope for Warner, based on his performance in
    training camp last year and in the preseason. Shortly before the start of
    last season, Rams coach Mike Martz said Warner was as sharp as he ever had
    been, and he had no physical issues.

    "Certainly, signing Warner was a gamble worth taking. But there are no
    guarantees with this once-great player."

    And that's pretty much my stance here, too -- at least the no guarantees

    As someone who, based on glowing preseason reports emanating from Rams
    headquarters, ranked Warner among my top 10 Fantasy quarterbacks last
    summer, I'm going to take a very simple stand on this one and say: Fool me
    once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    In other words, there are 32 NFL teams. And as long as I'm in a league
    with 15 or fewer teams, I wouldn't touch either Warner or Manning with
    your ten-foot pole.

  • #2
    Re: Analysis of Warner Situation

    If the rest of the nation can't put the Warner story to bed, I think it's easy to understand why many of us here who have a passion for the man, can't either.

    If things fall into place for Warner and the Giants, it will be one of the biggest, if not the biggest storyline in the NFL this year.

    Media outlets as well as NFL fans all over the country seem to be facinated by what happens with Kurt Warner. But that's what happens when your dealing with a legend.

    Time will tell if the story is a triumph or a tragedy.


    • #3
      Re: Analysis of Warner Situation

      His story is already a go from stocking grocery store items to winning the Super Bowl is already triumph enough.


      • #4
        Re: Analysis of Warner Situation

        He is definitly a triumph already. I was refering to Warner's potential comeback being a triumph or tragedy.


        • #5
          Re: Analysis of Warner Situation

          What I find funny is the race to be the first sportswriter to predict how this will play out. I can guarantee you that, however Warner ends up playing, you can't tell right now from a few practices.


          • #6
            Re: Analysis of Warner Situation

            It will indeed take more than a few practices, but at least he has the opportunity and from what I have read, the confidence of his new coaches and teammates. The rest is up to Kurt.


            Related Topics


            • Nick
              Won't Get Any Better for Kurt /
              by Nick
              Won't get any better for Kurt
              Bob Glauber
              Friday, June 4, 2004

              Yes, even Kurt Warner can't figure out how it has come to this: How one minute, he was the most incredible story in pro sports, the stockboy-at-the-local-HyVee-turned-Super Bowl hero. And how the next minute, he was wearing a headset and a blank stare, wondering where in the world it all went wrong.

              "Sometimes you just sit back and say, 'Wow, how did I get here?'" the former St. Louis Rams quarterback said yesterday. "You wonder where it's going."

              Warner hopes it's going back in the other direction, that the pendulum will begin to swing in the direction of a Super Bowl now that he has left the wonder and heartbreak of the Rams behind and come to the Giants. He believes he again can be the dominant quarterback he was from 1999-2001, when he won a Super Bowl, went to another, collected two NFL MVP trophies and was named a Super Bowl MVP.

              Sorry, Kurt, I have my doubts.

              "I think that two or three years down the road, it's all going to make sense, and that a lot is going to be accomplished," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to make sense of it, but all I can do is take it day by day and see what tomorrow brings."

              Warner's enthusiasm is understandable in light of his experience the last two seasons, in which he failed to win any of his eight starts, suffered three broken bones in his throwing hand and a concussion, and ultimately lost his job.

              But Warner is kidding himself if he thinks he can get back to where he once was.

              He certainly gives the Giants a chance to win more games than if No. 1 pick Eli Manning were thrown into the starting lineup right away. But to imagine Warner throwing darts the way he did with The Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis is simply unrealistic.

              Once he steps onto the field against the blitz-happy Eagles in the regular-season opener Sept. 12, you will see the same problems that led to Warner's fall from grace. You will see him lock on to receivers the way he did during his difficult times in St. Louis. You will see him get jittery under a heavy rush. And with the shaky offensive line the Giants figure to have, Warner certainly can't expect the kind of protection that once gave him time in his seven-step drops to fuel the Rams' high-octane attack. It doesn't help that the Giants are without the collective speed and talent around Warner that he enjoyed with the Rams.

              Warner can't possibly be as bad as he was in last year's opener against the Giants, when he fumbled six times and suffered six sacks. A mild concussion can explain some of those problems, but certainly not all.

              One player who was with the Rams during their two Super Bowl seasons said Warner slowed down noticeably in recent years, that he was not making on-field decisions as quickly as...
              -06-04-2004, 10:55 AM
            • WisRamsFan
              Warner in the correct forum
              by WisRamsFan
              Warner becomes caretaker QB until Manning ready

              By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
              June 3, 2004
              EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants are taking some of the pressure off Eli Manning , signing Kurt Warner to be their caretaker quarterback until the top pick in the draft is ready to take over.

              While the two-time MVP got a two-year contract late Wednesday that will pay him a minimum of $3.5 million this year, there is no guarantee the two-time NFL MVP will play for the Giants for more than a year.

              When Manning is ready to go, he will be the Giants' quarterback.


              Until then, the job seemingly belongs to Warner, the soon-to-be 33-year-old who led the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl appearances after the 1999 and 2001 seasons. Injuries and the emergence of Marc Bulger earned him a pink slip on Tuesday.

              ``I am looking to come in and to play and to re-establish myself,'' Warner said at Thursday, hours after his first practice. ``I would love this to be where I finish my career.''

              Warner has incentives that can push his salary to $8 million this season. However, the second year of his contract is voidable and his tenure may well be determined by Manning's progress in his rookie season.

              ``I don't want to keep moving and picking up my family,'' Warner added. ``I want to continue to have success. I would love it to be here in New York and I will do whatever in my time here to be successful. We'll just see what happens.''

              ``Obviously Manning is there, but this is New York and if Kurt wins, they are not going to want him to leave,'' said Mark Bartelstein, Warner's agent.

              The signing takes a ton of pressure off Manning.

              The son of Archie Manning and the brother of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning became the Giants' starting quarterback when Kerry Collins refused to take a pay cut and was released less than a week after New York got the No. 1 pick in a draft-day trade with San Diego.

              Manning, who has known for weeks the Giants planned to sign a veteran, still plans on competing for the starting job.

              ``I don't know if this takes the pressure off,'' Manning said. ``I don't know if anything has changed in my view. I am still going to practice just as hard as ever. I want to be ready.''

              Manning and Warner spoke for a few minutes on Thursday. Warner plans to tutor Manning, just as he did with Bulger in St. Louis.

              ``To teach a guy the little things and have him become a better quarterback was fun for me, as frustrating as it was not playing,'' Warner said. ``But I look forward to helping any way I can.''

              Warner also is looking forward to playing again. He suffered a concussion in a season-opening loss to the Giants last season and did not start for the rest of the year. He...
              -06-03-2004, 02:58 PM
            • Nick
              Warner's the man, at least to Warner
              by Nick
              Warner's the man, at least to Warner

              First published: Thursday, August 19, 2004

              ALBANY -- He's still the quarterback who takes teams to Olympus. Still the quarterback whose passing statistics are a fantasy of flight. Still the quarterback whose grocery-bags-to-NFL-MVP story felt as good as a kiss.
              Kurt Warner is convinced of this.

              He's gone from superstar to waiver wire. Untouchable to unwanted. At the end in St. Louis, the Rams were as eager to show Warner the door as he was to pass through it. He was signed by the Giants to be a mentor and stopgap, until Eli Manning is ready. Everything in Warner's career has changed -- but him, he insists.

              In nearly every player's career there comes a time when his skills, as Bill Belichick once said of Bernie Kosar's, diminish. Age and injuries make mortals of all. The player knows when he enters the winter of his career, but he won't publicly admit it.

              Warner, now 33, says he's the same quarterback, and because he's friendly, and gracious with his time, you want to believe him.

              But you don't.

              Once, Warner led the Greatest Show on Turf. Now, he's trying to hold Manning at bay long enough to audition for a starting job with another team next season. That's not the same at all.

              There has never been an NFL player like Kurt Warner. From stock boy to wonder boy to oh boy, what happened. It would be as if Greg Maddux had gone from video store clerk to Cy Young control artist to a pitcher who stopped throwing strikes, though Warner doesn't see it that way. The Rams' 0-8 record in his last eight games as a starter didn't change Warner's opinion of himself.

              "You have to say, 'Did Kurt Warner lose those eight games because Kurt Warner didn't play well, or did the Rams lose those last eight games because the team didn't play well?' " Warner said. "I think that's where people sometimes get skewed in their opinion."

              Warner doesn't mention that the Rams were 18-4 the past two seasons when Marc Bulger started at quarterback. Granted, win-loss percentage isn't everything. But it's something. And playing on the same team, with the same players, Bulger enjoyed success while Warner flopped. But if Warner's fumbling 14 times and throwing 11 interceptions with only four touchdowns in those eight games have cracked his confidence, he conceals it behind his disarming smile.

              "I feel like I can play as well as anybody in this league," Warner said. "I can still play this game. I don't plan on being average."

              Thing is, average would be an improvement.

              One trait players like in their quarterback: accountability. They respect a guy who accepts criticism when warranted and shares praise when deserved. But in a recent conversation, this is as close as Warner came to acknowledging he performed...
              -08-22-2004, 11:40 AM
            • RamWraith
              Warner article--sure to drum up a debate. Interesting read
              by RamWraith
              Just like with Rams and Giants, Warner out to prove critics wrong
              By Darren Urban, Tribune

              The resumé is too long for the story to begin where it once did. Kurt Warner knows that.
              His past is decorated with two MVP awards, three Pro Bowls, two Super Bowl appearances and a St. Louis fan base that still follows him two stops later.

              Warner is no longer the nobody who took over at quarterback for the Rams in 1999, but in some ways, he is starting over.

              He has more doubters than believers, which is where he stood that day St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil made him the starter after Trent Green's season-ending knee injury almost six years ago.

              And like his Rams back then, his new team in Arizona carries few expectations.

              "There are a lot of people out there that don't think I can still play, and there's a lot of people out there that don't think this team has a chance to do anything," Warner said. The statistics haven't been gaudy for three years, and for Warner, his history has become his burden. But it is also his proof.

              "There has never been a story like Kurt Warner's," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. "It's a result of him believing in himself." Warner still believes. He believes that winning football, if not video game-like stats, remains in him.

              He believes politics dragged him out of the lineup with both the Rams and the New York Giants. He believes he will be reborn as an NFL starter with the Cardinals this season. And he believes he has lived this scenario before. "It's kind of my story, the underdog story, no chance to have success," Warner said. "It's kind of like what I stepped into in St. Louis.

              "I get a chance to rewrite my story, and I get a chance to hopefully rewrite the story of the Arizona Cardinals."

              FROM HERO TO HUMBLED

              The first version of Warner's story came straight from Hollywood.

              He was nowhere, bagging groceries at one point after college, eventually thinking a successful arena football career in his native Iowa was as far as the dream might go. Then, in one stunning two-year period, he rose from Iowa Barnstormer to St. Louis Ram as ringleader of the "Greatest Show on Turf."

              "St. Louis football was dog meat for so long," longtime St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz said. "Then this mythical character out of a W.P. Kinsella novel walks out of the Iowa cornfields."

              He won a Super Bowl that first season as a starter. He set team records. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. And he was a good person, friendly almost to a fault, a sports hero fans could feel good about embracing.

              Warner was going to be a Ram forever.

              That he isn't now, "flabbergasts me a little bit," Warner
              -05-14-2005, 06:25 AM
            • Yodude
              Don't bet against Warner.....
              by Yodude
              Don't bet against Warner reviving his career in Arizona

              BY JEFF GORDON
              Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist

              Kurt Warner’s gambit paid off.

              The former Rams hero signed with the New York Giants as the interim starter for last season. He agreed to direct that offense on a temporary basis while prized prospect Eli Manning learned the ropes.

              All along, Warner’s role was to mentor the kid. At some point, he knew that Manning would take his job. The Giants traded the farm for the kid, then paid him all the money in the world. His ascension was not a matter of if, but when.

              Kurt also knew the Giants had offensive shortcomings that would make this assignment doubly hard. But this was arguably his only guaranteed shot to re-establish himself in 2004, so he took it.

              Warner accomplished just enough to earn a real opportunity -– to quarterback the Arizona Cardinals in 2005, with no strings attached.

              Warner insists he is ready. He believes he can play for another five or six years. He promises the world that he still has game.

              “I still feel like I have a lot left,” Warner told ESPN Radio. “I wanted to be on the field. I wanted to be in a situation where, for the most part, I controlled my own destiny.”

              He flashed some of his old magic with the Giants last season, particularly earlier in his nine-game stint. The team was far more successful with him at the helm than Manning.

              “Obviously, I hated to be taken out,” Warner said. “Two weeks before I got pulled, we were sitting at 5-2. We were the second-best team in the NFC. Obviously, the next two weeks we didn’t play as well as we would have liked to.”

              But, he added, “In every single game we were competitive, we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

              Warner completed 174 of 277 passes for 2,054 yards last season. He threw six touchdown passes and four interceptions. His passer rating was 86.5. He finished with a 5-4 record as a starter.

              By contrast, Manning won just one game as a starter. He completed 95 of 197 passes for 1,043 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. His passer rating was, ahem, 55.4.

              The benching, Warner said, “was unfortunate at the time. In the long-run, it was beneficial to me.”

              Manning’s dismal play and the Giants’ offensive demise put Warner’s so-so play in context. “People could see how well I was playing, or playing within that role,” he said. “I think my stock actually rose after that time.”

              What if Warner had finished out the season as starter?

              “My stats wouldn’t have been that good,” he said. “We would have finished 8-8, 9-7.”

              Many experts, though, argue that No. 13 is done. They point to his later work with the Giants, when he became tentative in the pocket and absorbed...
              -03-09-2005, 02:56 PM