Kurt Warner weighs in on Seahawks’ quarterback battle
By Brady Henderson
Take one guess as to what dominated the conversation when Kurt Warner – the former NFL quarterback who made four Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl MVP – joined Dave Grosby and Matt Pitman Thursday on “Bob and Groz.”
As you might expect, their 16-minute discussion focused mostly on the Seahawks’ quarterback competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson.
A few highlights:
And the winner is … Warner thinks Matt Flynn will be Seattle’s starter, but it sounded as though his reasoning was based more on a perceived lack of confidence in Tarvaris Jackson than anything he’s seen from Flynn.
Kurt Warner thinks Matt Flynn will be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, but he suggests that Flynn’s adjustment to a new team and a new offense might take some time. (AP)
Warner: Tarvaris Jackson, I just really believe that they’re gonna look at this and say, ‘Well, he had his chance. He had his chance to start. We brought Matt in.’ Even if it’s a fairly even competition, I think they’re gonna go with Matt and say, ‘OK, we brought him in, we’ve got to see what he can bring to the table and if he can give us more than what Tarvaris Jackson is.’ So I really believe he’ll get the nod to start it out, and then from there we’ll see how it plays out, how he plays and where the team goes early in the season.”
Warner stressed the importance of finding a great quarterback. He spoke of Flynn’s addition as something that improved the competition at that position, not one that necessarily gave the Seahawks their long-term answer. He doesn’t seem completely sold on Flynn, in other words.
Knowing vs. mastering an offense. Warner spoke from experience when he talked about the challenges of splitting reps between quarterbacks, which the Seahawks plan to do when they begin training camp later this month. In Flynn’s case, Warner thinks that will make it harder to master the offense, something Jackson shouldn’t have to worry about given all the time he’s spent in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s system. Warner said memorizing an offense isn’t the same as understanding it well enough to execute it efficiently.
Warner: “It’s always one thing to study your playbook and draw plays on the board and be able to decipher stuff. It’s completely different when you have to actually call the play in a timely fashion, you have to get up there and be able to react and make it second nature to you. So you can get as many mental reps as you want; it’s never the same as a physical rep. The less of those you get, the less you’re going to be ready because that’s really where you learn and where you grow is under fire, whether it’s preseason games, whether it’s live scrimmages or just competitive situations in practice.”
Connecting with receivers takes time. Flynn had been with the Packers for nearly four full seasons when he set franchise records with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns in his only start of 2011. Now, he’s not only running a new offense but throwing to new receivers. Again speaking from experience, Warner said that is much more difficult than it might seem — even for a Pro Bowl quarterback and Pro Bowl receivers.
Warner: “When you’re used to certain guys doing things certain ways, it’s tough. And I learned it actually when I came to Arizona [in 2005]. When I played in St. Louis I had some tremendous receivers, but they played the game differently than the great receivers I had in Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin — great receivers in their own right, but they played the game different. I saw the game a certain way based on how he played in St. Louis, and it took me a full year to be able to transition to seeing guys open differently, watching them run routes differently. And they were great receivers. It didn’t have anything to do with them. It was me having been so ingrained to play the game a certain way that I had to kind of change my thinking to be able to be successful in a similar system but with different guys.
“And I’m sure that’s what Matt is going to go through as well with the little things, the little nuances of the game or the little nuances of certain players that’s different there than it was in Green Bay.”