Kurt Warner: “We are definitely playing our best football right now and we definitely want to continue that.”October 30, 2009 – 9:30 am by timgunter
What a difference a year makes. The last time the Arizona Cardinals played the Carolina Panthers was in the NFC Championship game last year. This week, the Cardinals are looking to go three games above .500 and the Panthers are looking to win their third game of the season. Kurt Warner and the high-flying offense are hitting stride but the Panthers passing defense ranks first in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. It is the Panthers rushing defense that is suspect so maybe the Cardinals should try and just run it down their throats. Jake Delhomme looks like a 50-year old out on the field throwing 13 interceptions to just 4 touchdowns. and thanks to him, Steve Smith is a bust this year on my fantasy team. The all-of-a-sudden-great defense of the Cardinals shouldn’t have a problem for an offense that ranks near the bottom half of the NFL in total yards. So I would say the Cardinals win by two touchdowns.
Kurt Warner joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix to talk about what it was like personally to get a win in New York, the defense playing well and the team feeding off of it, and whether he has spoken to Todd Haley about the Larry Johnson situation.
On the excitement of the team now in Arizona and around the league:
“Well you know that is always subject to change. It is week to week in this business. A few weeks ago I thought someone said: Put a fork in us we are done. We win a few games now we are the talk of the town. You just cant get into all of that stuff. You know it doesn’t really matter. Six weeks in and nobody cares. We got a long way to go and hopefully keep it going and stay on this roll. No question it was a big win for us in New York, at their stadium, to be a team like that. I think it was a win that we needed as an organization for a confidence standpoint and maybe getting a few people believing that we can play with anybody in the league.”
On what it was like personally to get a win in New York:
“You know as far as going back to New York and all of this stuff of after being there for one year, it really didn’t mean a whole lot personally. It was great to get to see some of the coaches, great to talk to some of the ownership of the Giants because they were good to me. They gave me a great opportunity. I love my time there but as far as personal significance and winning that game there was really none but there was a huge significance in us going out there as a football team and winning a game like that. I was talking to some of the Giants before the game just telling them that I was excited for them in what they are building there. I told them: This is the kind of game that we need for our organization. To go out, to be very competitive, if not win the game on the road against a team that everybody considered for the last two or three years the best team in the NFL. Sure enough we were able to come out and put a great performance together specifically defensively. We really fed off our defense this past Sunday night. So a huge signature win for this point in the season but again, we are only six game in. It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now. We are definitely playing our best football right now and we definitely want to continue that.”
On the defense playing well and the team feeding off of it:
“No question and I haven’t been fortunate in my career that to play on many teams where I wasn’t expected to play at a certain level or the offense wasn’t expected to have to score a number of points to give your team a chance to win. It has been fun this year at times specifically like you said these last two games. To watch our defense play as a quarterback you don’t feel like you have to force anything. You don’t feel like you have to make every throw. You know if it is not there and you have to take a sack, you feel comfortable in doing that. I haven’t been in a position like that very often in my career so these last couple of games have been fun and it has been fun to watch our defense playing, watch them fly around and take advantage and really reap the rewards of the hard work that they are putting in.”
On the offense’s potential of taking it to another level this season:
“Well I don’t think there is any question. I think we played at a higher level consistently and maybe in the last couple of years. We know the potential is there. I think some of it is getting guys healthy, getting guys back and really getting into our groove. We have been there at times this year but I don’t think we have sustained it game in and game out like we know that we can. I think that is the exciting thing like you said. We are 4-2 and our defense is playing good football and we haven’t hit that stride yet offensively. We haven’t gotten to the point where we feel unstoppable which we have had around here in the past. If we can couple our defense with that mentality and getting back to that position offensively, that is when people are going to see what this team is all about. More like what we saw in the playoffs last year which we haven’t quite captured yet this year.”
On whether he has spoken to Todd Haley about the Larry Johnson situation:
“You know we text quite a bit. We haven’t had a chance to talk after this most recent incident that went on with Larry Johnson. But we do text all the time and we do talk when we have the chance. I know Todd is struggling and he is frustrated you know. With the success we had last year and wanting to go in and knowing his competitive nature… He wanted to win now but I also think he understands that this is a process and he is trying to take it all in and trying to learn how to handle the situation from a head coaching perspective which doesn’t happen overnight. You know guys it is hard to turn from a position coach or an offensive coordinator and all of the sudden become a head coach and understand everything that goes into it. So he is learning the position and his frustrated like the players are but that is the key for a head coach. He has got to keep everything together. He has got to keep everything moving forward. He has got to keep things positive and optimistic. I believe he is going to do that and at some point in time he is going to turn that thing around. Like I said it just doesn’t happen overnight. Unfortunately when you have a few guys that go the wrong direction, it sets everything back. So hopefully whatever happens with the Larry Johnson situation that it turns out to be for the betterment of the team one way or another and make them move forward and start making strides to building something there.”