Kurt Warner is an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, and a Super Bowl-winning one at that, so he’s entitled to formulate his opinions on the NFL landscape as it currently exists today. He should be familiar with the QB situation that recently unfolded in Pittsburgh involving Mitch Trubisky and first-rounder Kenny Pickett, as it’s the same situation that he was a part of with the New York Giants. Warner was the veteran who the team vowed would be the starter, while Eli Manning was the number one draft pick that year. Warner made it only a few games into that season before Manning took over, so he knows about this all too well.
Pickett has shown poise thus far in his short NFL career, which only spans six quarters. He’s also shown a willingness to put the ball into tight places, and although he’s thrown four picks thus far, several of those richoted off the receivers’ hands and into the air, prime for the taking for the defense. Last week in the 38-3 loss to Buffalo, Pickett held his own and even led the the team on several drives beyond the 50-yard line before the offense stalled out just shy of field goal range. Warner was quick to compliment Pickett last week, but also noted some areas where he struggled.
“When I saw Kenny Pickett play last week, he did a lot of good things, but there were a number of times that he struggled seeing the defensive rotations on the snap of the ball,” Warner said via NFL.com video.
Buffalo’s defense is highly-regarded, but up next on the slate obviously are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and if there’s one thing about head coach Todd Bowles, it’s his affinity to wreak havoc by sending a variety of blitz packages. Their front seven is as dangerous as any across the league, featuring standout players like Vita Vea, Lavonte David, sack-artist Shaquil Barrett, who garnered DPOY votes in 2019, and perhaps the most potent, inside linebacker Devin White. White’s blitzes can wreck a gameplan, as he frequently bursts into the backfield, resembling being shot out of a cannon.
“Outside of that one blemish against the Kansas City Chiefs, this has been the best defense in the National Football League,” Warner said of Tampa Bay. “Well, I tell you what, Todd Bowles is going to change things up and make it really, really hard on the young guy, so I want to see how he responds.”
Odds are, he’ll respond well, as we all witnessed based on his fiery persona when he engaged in a shoving match with the Bills’ Shaq Lawson last week after a late hit. However, with a lagging defense and Tom Brady on the opposite sideline, this is certainly a rough stretch of games for the presumed future signal-caller of the team. Baptism by fire, if you will. Let me know your comments below.