There's very little question that former St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner will someday be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the most productive quarterbacks of his era. However, Warner isn't cooling his heels and waiting around for that to happen — he's going to have a much higher profile as an analyst on the NFL Network this year. From the press release:
Former Super Bowl winner and NFL MVP, Kurt Warner has signed a new multi-year extension to be an analyst exclusively for NFL Network it was announced today. Warner will join NFL Network's Emmy-nominated NFL GameDay Morning Sunday pregame show, NFL Total Access and the Thursday Night Football on location pregame, halftime and postgame shows this season. Warner's story from undrafted free agent to a Super Bowl winning quarterback is one of the greatest stories in NFL history.
Warner will join NFL Network's NFL GameDay Morning, the first and most comprehensive pregame on Sunday mornings. He will also be on the road when he joins NFL Network's pre, halftime and postgame shows for NFL Network's Thursday Night Football, live from the game sites, beginning in November for the eight-game schedule.
Warner will continue to serve as an in-studio analyst on NFL Total Access, the definitive NFL news and information show on television. NFL Total Access is NFL Network's signature show that delivers inside information with exclusive "Team Cams" at every NFL team headquarters. Warner will also be on other NFL Network shows including Top 100, No Huddle, Super Bowl, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine and Hall of Fame coverage.
We had the opportunity to talk with Warner on Thursday morning about his new opportunities (thanks to Dennis Johnson and everyone at the NFL Network), and what was supposed to be a rote 10-minute PR call turned into a 22-minute quarterback master class. A few quotes and the link to the audio download after the jump … or, if you're in a hurry, you can click to listen right here:
On the difficulty in criticizing players he knows, has played against, or played with: "The one thing I try and do, though I'm not perfect at it yet, is that I try to point out the problem, and try not to attack the player. That's the key to the whole thing — I never want to be a guy who is saying, 'Oh, this guy can't do this,' or 'This guy can't do that,' but you want to be able to point out to the fans, why didn't this work?"
On the fact that the quarterback position is so scheme-specific: "I look at it more in a different manner — a lot of people talk about this system or that system. But for me, every quarterback, and probably every player, sees the game a specific way. It might not make sense to the normal person, but the way I look at the game, and the way I decipher information, and all of those things, is specific to how my brain works, and what makes sense to me."
On whether he thinks it's important for a starter and a backup quarterback to have similar skill sets: "For the success of a team, I think continuity at a position is always better. If you can get guys who can play the same way … the guys around them, the coordinators, so the playcalling can be very similar -- I think that leads to more success."
On the idea that he learned to "play faster" in the Arena League: "Everybody wants to point to what I learned in the Arena League, but the most important thing it did was to give me a chance to play football … it gave me a confidence in what I could do, and that I could make a play at any given moment. If you want to look at specifics, I think accuracy and quick decision-making were my two greatest strengths when I played in the NFL, and those were the two greatest strengths that allowed me to be successful in the Arena League."
On the value of Marshall Faulk: "It's easy to point to the security blanket of being able to throw a 1-yard pass and he could take it 60 yards at any given time. And obviously, that was awesome to have on your team. But the greatest benefits Marshall Faulk gave me as a quarterback were a.) His versatility allowed the game to develop easier than it would have otherwise … and b.) He saw the game like I saw the game."
Warner also goes into detail about the problems he faced when he was with the New York Giants, the one NFL quarterback he'd take today if he was a team owner and could have his pick of the litter, and whether he was a better quarterback in St. Louis or Arizona. It's a great interview, and if this is any indication of the analysis we're going to get from Warner on the NFL Network, it's one great hire. We're also hoping to get him back for a longer, more involved podcast before the regular season begins -- but in the meantime, this one is well worth checking out.
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