|1 for the aged: Favre, 38, takes on Warner, 37|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 25 September 2008 12:57|
``He was just a guy,'' Favre said. ``Obviously, he's a lot different now. The guy has played phenomenal.''
From one gunslinging quarterback to another, that's certainly high praise. And even after all these years, the two aging veterans still make eye-popping throws with their rifle arms.
They'll be on the same field again Sunday when Favre's New York Jets (1-2) host Warner's Arizona Cardinals (2-1).
``I don't know if anybody quite expected it like this, to be as prolonged as it has been for both of us,'' Warner said, ``but I like to think of it as a credit to both of us, that we're still playing at a high level, we're still competing.''
This matchup is truly one for the aged: Favre turns 39 next month, while Warner is 37.
``You can't call me old anymore. I like that.''
The two combine for 29 years of NFL experience, but have shown no signs of slowing. Warner's 111.7 quarterback rating leads the NFC, while Favre's 98.7 is third in the AFC.
``I think there's something about a seasoned vet, a guy that's been there, a guy that's played, that brings something to the table,'' Warner said. ``Yeah, maybe it will set a trend, that they won't look to just throw us out of the league, that maybe they'll want us to hang around a little bit longer because we bring something special to the table.''
Entering training camp, it seemed inconceivable the two would be starting against each other - not only this weekend, but ever again. Favre, after all, was retired, and the Cardinals wanted to give Matt Leinart every opportunity to win the starting job.
A few months later, Favre landed in New York after his return and bitter breakup with Green Bay, and Warner outplayed Leinart in camp to earn the job.
``You realize in this business that a lot of people want to throw you out when you get old,'' Warner said. ``We still love to compete, and we still think we can play with the best of them, and so it's going to be fun to be out there with him on Sunday.''
Favre remembers Warner in Packers camp in 1994 being inexperienced and a bit hesitant when then-quarterbacks coach Steve Mariucci asked Warner to go in and run some plays.
``He said, 'No, I'm not going in,''' Favre said with a smile. ``He wasn't ready. In fact, when Steve was here a couple weeks ago, we were doing an interview, laughing about that, how far he's come. He's not afraid to go in now.''
Warner chuckled when asked to recall his summer with the Packers, who also had Mark Brunell and Ty Detmer in camp.
``I've heard that story before and I don't remember that,'' he said. ``I was a young kid and I don't remember a whole bunch from camp. I especially don't remember a whole bunch from the football side of it because I only got a few reps anyway.''
Since those early days, Favre has won three MVP awards and a Super Bowl, while Warner also earned a title and two MVPs. Favre now holds numerous passing records, while Warner's 65.1 career completion percentage is second in NFL history.
``There's a lot of guys that come and go that just, for whatever reason, never panned out,'' Favre said. ``He's one of those guys that when he got the opportunity, he made the most of it. That's an understatement.''
The Cardinals, coming off a loss to Washington, stayed in Tysons Corner, Va., all week to avoid making consecutive cross-country flights. Arizona is 2-15 in the Eastern time zone since the start of the 2003 season.
en you're traveling and it's taking a toll on your body, you don't have to deal with that.''
Arizona will be without defensive end Bertrand Berry, who tore his groin against the Redskins. He had a sack in each of the first three games, and Whisenhunt said he'll rotate the trio of Travis LaBoy, Chike Okeafor and Clark Haggans at the two end spots.
The Jets and Favre, recovering from a twisted left ankle, will still have to face a defense that ranks eighth and has allowed just 47 points.
``The way they pursue the football, it's consistent,'' Jets coach Eric Mangini said. ``It's all 11 guys. Big guys, little guys, they're all getting to the ball fast.''
Both of Warner's top two targets, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, are off to terrific starts. Fitzgerald, who needs four catches in his 64th game to become third fastest in NFL history to 350, has 16 receptions for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Boldin has 17 catches for 247 yards and four scores.
``Watching film on those guys, Kurt Warner throws the ball up to them,'' Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said.
After opening the season 2-0, the Cardinals are looking for their first 3-1 start since 1985.
``It's big for us,'' Warner said. ``We don't want to go home after this road trip 2-2. We don't want to be balanced at this point.''
But that's precisely what the Jets are hoping as they head into their bye week.
e this team starts believing, all 53 guys start believing that it can done, then it will be,'' Favre said. ``When there's doubt creeping in from wherever and you see flashes of how good we can be, as we have, then it's going to be the way it has been.''
AP Sports Writer Joseph White in Vienna, Va., contributed to this story.