If there’s any quarterback in the history of the NFL that understands the importance of staying healthy it’s Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. In 1999, St. Louis Rams quarterback Trent Green suffered a gruesome season-ending knee injury that forced Warner into the lineup, and the opportunity led to Warner leading the Rams to a Super Bowl Championship and the then 27-year-old putting together a historic season.
Warned joined the latest episode of The Jim Rome Podcast and talked about his career, but also the growing number of hits Tom Brady has taken this season. The Pro Football Hall of Famer and two-time league MVP winner said the reason Brady’s been on his back more this season isn’t just the offensive line play like many think, but rather the changes the Patriots have made in their playbook.
“In the past they’ve been very much dink and dunk, the small ball type offense,” Warner said. “Where he gets back and gets the ball out of his hands, doesn’t take as many hits, or doesn’t take as many big hits because he’s not deeper in the pocket and holding it as guys are getting that running start.
“This year, that’s changed. This year they’re throwing the ball down the field more, he’s holding the ball longer than he has in the past, and due to that he’s going to take more hits and he’s probably going to take bigger hits.”
With Brady losing wideouts Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell to season-ending injuries, Warner isn’t convinced they could just go back to their old ways of running the offense, so their new vertical game, with Brandin Cooks and Kevin Hogan’s speed leading the way, could come with a cost.
“They’re not as efficient this year as they’ve been, but they are making more big plays, which accumulate yards and points the same way,” Warner said.
Warner played until he was 38-years-old. Asked if he thought the 40-year-old Brady could possibly withstand an entire season the way he’s been hit, Warner wasn’t about to doubt the five-time Super Bowl champion.
“I’m never going to say never with him. My gosh, what he continues to accomplish you can’t say that he won’t,” Warner said. “Sometimes you go through a career—and I look at my career—and sometimes you break a finger, or you just do this or that… And then there’s the Eli Mannings and those guys, that take hits and hits and hits, and they never have any of those fluke injuries that happened to them.
“So I just feel like Tom Brady is going to sustain this and play at a high level and be able to withstand the pounding as long as he doesn’t’ suffer one of those crazy injuries that just force him off the field.”
You can listen to The Jim Rome Podcast on iTunes, or wherever podcasts can be found.