The Cardinals have the sixth-rated passing offense in the league, and former Giants quarterback Kurt Warner is right in the middle of it. And as far as Justin Tuck is concerned, Warner is a changed quarterback.
That's not good news as far as the faltering Giants pass rush is concerned. The front four, including Tuck, put no pressure at all on Drew Brees, partly because he got the ball out of there in about as much time as it takes a CC Sabathia fastball to get from his hand to Jorge Posada's mitt. Maybe that's exaggerating a bit, but you get the gist of it, no? Well, Warner is getting the ball out faster this year, too.
"They haven't given up a lot of sacks because Kurt is doing a good job of finding receivers early," Tuck said. "Hopefully, we'll find a way to get up there."
It probably won't be easy if Warner has changed as much as Tuck said he has. The old Warner used to hang onto the ball for endless stretches, just waiting for his receivers to come open. That made him a sitting duck for any kind of pressure, and in 2007 a veritable fumble machine. But he's not holding it as much anymore, even though his current 10-sack total would seem to indicate otherwise. Keep in mind, though, that the Cardinals make little pretense of being a running team. Warner has 201 passing attempts so far, more than double the 99 rushes the Cardinals have run.
"We've studied the film on Kurt and he's not holding the ball as long as he used to," Tuck said. "He still holds it longer than Brees, but we just have to come in and play our game."
Tuck watched film of Warner from last year and admitted to "licking my chops" at the prospect of a rejuvenating sack-fest. But then he looked at the games from this year and thought differently.
"You see he's getting the ball out in an average of 2.2 seconds," Tuck said. "It's just a drastic change. Last year, it was like, five. But this year he's really changed it up and he's getting the ball out quick."
Sounds like a bit of blitzing may be in order if the front four can't bring sufficient heat to disrupt Warner's timing with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and the lesser-known but dangerous Steve Breaston.