Kurt Warner Scouts Sunday's Opponent

Kurt Warner has heard a lot about the Giants' pass rush, and he expects the Giants to fly all around the field in Arizona. Warner will have to rely on his offensive line more than ever when New York brings a "very aggressive; attack you type of defense" to the University of Phoenix Stadium. Here is what Warner has to say about the Super Bowl champs, Sunday's game and young QB's at his heels.

Question: These three receivers you have now. Do they remind you much of the three you had with the Rams when you won the Super Bowl, that kind of thing?

Kurt Warner: I think there are some similarities, obviously. Especially two of them are extremely special, extremely gifted. And I think Steve (Breaston) is really coming along and has potential to be really good, similar to St. Louis. Obviously we had the two who were just extremely special and we actually had a few more in Az and Ricky. Then you add Marshall (Faulk) to the mix. So it was a pretty special group in St. Louis.

But it is obviously a lot of fun to be the quarterback around these guys. And to have those two and then to have Steve emerging like he has. It is a lot of fun. It is nice to have those three guys at your disposal from a quarterback standpoint.


WR Larry Fitzgerald
(Getty)

Did you see this coming from yourself this year? Could you have forecasted that you would have this kind of season?

I mean, I guess…. You look at it and say, "Could I forecast this, could I forecast that I could still play football and win games and be successful?" No question. There was never a doubt in my mind that I could still play football at an extremely high level. And so to me it is not about our stats and all of that stuff. But as far as coming out and leading this team and playing good football, yeah, there was not a doubt in my mind that I could do that.

Do you guys need a win against a 9-1 team just to add to your credibility or have you gotten that already?

No, I think we are a long ways from getting credibility out here in Arizona. I think for so long we haven't had success and we haven't played good football. I think a win against a team like the Giants would obviously give us more creditability. I still think we have a long ways to go. And I think that comes from consistency and doing it year in and year out and game in and game out. And we are not there yet.

And so I don't expect anybody to give us anything. You want to be a team that has to earn it. And I think we still have to earn it. I think we are gaining a little bit bit-by-bit; little pieces here and there, which is obviously good for our team and organization. But we have a long way to go. But a win against somebody like the Giants, who may well be the best team in the NFL, would obviously go a long way to add to that creditability.


AZ Cardinals
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Did you expect after your Giants experience to be playing at this high a level when you went to Arizona?

Again, I never wavered in my belief on what I could do. I think the one thing that I probably wavered in more than anything is would I get an opportunity to play football like this again, would I have a team that would be willing to commit to me and commit to the brand of football that I think I play the best. And would that present itself to me again? So as much as I felt like my skills were still there, I was never really convinced that a team or organization was there to give me that chance.

And I'm just so fortunate to be there and to have a staff that believes in me and was willing to make that commitment to me when I think very few teams would have. And they have entrusted me, week in and week out, to go out and make plays. And it is fun. And that was the part I didn't know if it would be out there. But I'm very thankful that I found it.

When you look back at your time here in New York what went wrong and what do you look back at that you learned the most from that time?

I don't know if anything went wrong. I think it was really in the end a win-win situation. I knew when I went there and with Eli being there that I was never the long term answer. That was a situation for me to hopefully go in there and prove to that organization that I could help them win and I could give them an answer for as long as they needed until they felt Eli was ready. And at the same time to present what I could do on the football field to other teams out there to parlay that into another opportunity for me. And so I don't think anything went wrong there.

I think it was a good situation. From going from a 4-12 team and we started out that next year 4-1 and I think we got to 5-2 at some point. I think a lot of good things happened there, both for the organization and myself. So I look on that situation very favorably. And it was fun to be around a lot of those guys that won the Super Bowl and specifically Eli, to get to know him a little bit and to see him grow and hopefully share a piece or two of some kind of information that helped him to have some success. So I don't look at that as a negative situation at all. I enjoyed my time there. And like I say, I think it was a win-win for everybody.


QB Matt Leinart
(Getty)

There is a parallel, though. When you went to the Cardinals they drafted a young quarterback again. They asked you to hold the fort down until he was ready to play. But here you are now putting up numbers like it was 1999 again. What do you think is happening as far as Matt and your own sort of progression?

Again, I don't think anything has happened. I think I am the same guy I have always been. I just think people forgot that for a minute. I think when you get cut by a team that you have won two MVPs with and gone to two Super Bowls with, there is automatically something there that people question.

"Well, obviously, what is wrong with him? Why would that happen? It doesn't happen." And then going to New York and getting the feeling like I played pretty good football for those nine games but then getting replaced by a young guy. People again are saying, "Well, okay, what is wrong with this guy? He put up the numbers that he did when he won the MVP and now you get benched for a young guy. Okay, obviously this guy isn't the same guy that we expected before." And they never really had the pieces together out here until, I think, last year, to really play football again and to do the things that I can do.

So I don't think anything has happened other than an opportunity has arisen here with the pieces in place for me to play football the way I play football. And to have the ball in my hands and to throw the football around and to be able to make decisions and to be able to win games throwing the football. And with that has come the success that I have had the last couple of years. And so I don't think anything has really happened. I think the staff and the organization here have recognized what I can do on the football field and they appreciate that.

And it has nothing to do with Matt, that he could still be the future and still have a great career. But I think that they recognize what I can still do on the football field. And I think there were a lot of other teams that didn't recognize that for whatever reason because of those other circumstances that I was in.


QB's Kurt Warner & Matt Leinart
(Getty)

After they started Eli in 2004, he was only 1-6 down the stretch. Based on what you saw from him that year are you surprised that he progressed to the point that he won a Super Bowl in his fourth year?

I think you are always surprised to a degree when young kids come in and have success as early – in your fourth year winning a Super Bowl. Some guys go their whole career without doing that. But I just think it was too early for me to tell in that one year that I was with him how good he was going to be. He was thrown into a difficult situation playing as a rookie and having to go through some rookie struggles. But the one thing that I did see from him is that he continued to get more poised. He was calm under pressure and he didn't allow any of the negativity to bother him.

At least to his teammates, I didn't see it. So those to me were all huge signs of the fact that he had the potential to be a really good quarterback. But it was just too early. To see him play seven games in that kind of situation was too early for me to tell one way or the other. But there were some obviously great signs that I saw early on that led me to believe that he had a chance to be really good.

And then to be able to explode onto the scene kind of like he did down the stretch last year and through the playoffs, it was fun. It was fun to watch him.

It almost looked like everything kind of slowed down to him. And he became the quarterback that he is going to be the rest of his career. And he hasn't looked back since then.

This is a pretty big year for quarterbacks who are late in their career. Do you follow what Brett Favre has done and what Kerry Collins has done in Tennessee from afar?

Always. You obviously follow a lot of quarterbacks around the League and always keep up on it. But definitely the old guys get a little more recognition and getting the opportunity this year where it didn't seem like those guys always got the opportunities in the past. It is fun to see and to know that you can, I guess, overcome the hands of time to some degree.

It is not just a rarity that a number of guys that stay in shape and stay prepared and have had experience and had success at this level can do some different things for our football team that a young guy that has never been there can't. And I believe that is what teams are realizing is that if you put a good team around a veteran quarterback that knows how to play, that can make plays for you, that can manage games for you, that it can be a special thing.

And you don't have to have the big rocket arm, you don't have to be able to run like the wind; you just have to know how to play the game of football. And I think those guys know how to play it and I think everyone of those teams is very thankful that they have them.

You hear a lot about the Giants pass rush. What do you see so far from what you have seen on film of their secondary?

A: I think I keep seeing Osi and Michael out there, too, is what I'm thinking. They are all over the place. It is pretty amazing to lose those two guys and to still have the kind of pass rush and disruption that those guys have. It is just a credit to all of those other guys – the young guys that have come in and just really established themselves.


CB Kevin Dockery
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It doesn't look like a whole lot has changed, is kind of what I see. It looks like those two stalwarts that were there game in and game out, and seemed to be getting two and three sacks a game, it seems like those guys are still there because these young kids are doing just a tremendous job of rushing the passer and making plays and flying around the football field, and so it just seems like they picked up where those guys left off.

It is fun to watch them play defense because they are exciting, hit you in the mouth, very aggressive team. And they play defense the way you expect people to play defense. And it is fun to watch them and it is going to be a tremendous challenge for us.

What about the secondary that they have?

Just watching a couple of days of film, again, looks like a group that will come up and hit you; very aggressive; attack you type of defense. You see them making plays all over the place, whether that is hitting guys or making plays on the ball. I just think their whole defense kind of fits that mold; very aggressive; very in your face; very attacking in their mentality; and just a good defense; a great defense.

Have you seen any defense similar to them this year?

I don't know. Carolina I think has a very strong defense, a team that can rush the passer with four guys and also have quality guys on the back end, some good speed at linebacker. That might be the closest thing that we have seen up to this point. It is hard to say man to man which team is probably better. But I think they are both very good defenses and, like I said, can bring pressure in different ways that can cause you problems but they can also just rush four and cause you all kinds of problems, too.


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