Warner playing better than ever

Originally Published: December 11, 2009
By Ron Jaworski |

"Monday Night Football" analyst Ron Jaworski breaks down the matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers:

The most exciting element of this week's matchup is Kurt Warner. Ten years removed from winning Super Bowl XXXIV, Warner, at age 38, is playing at his best. He understands what the opposing defense is trying to do in each game, so it is very difficult to trick him.

Warner's stats from his past four games jump out at you. He's completed 73 percent of his passes, and he has 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

There are many reasons behind Warner's excellent play. He is healthier now, although he was limping after the Vikings game last week. His hip problems seem to be cured. Health is important at Warner's age, and that speaks to his most impressive trait as a player: courage. No quarterback in the league holds on to the ball longer, waiting for plays to develop and receivers to come open. Warner consistently sacrifices his body for the good of his team. He stares down the barrel and hangs in there, releasing the ball at the last second before taking a direct hit.

He's not doing it alone, of course. Although the Cardinals' offensive line is average, Warner is blessed with a great group of receivers. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are fast and exciting playmakers, and Warner uses them well. His trust of these guys is evident; Warner will throw to covered guys, trusting them to make a play. If a corner has Steve Breaston covered on the right side, Warner will zip the ball to Breaston's left shoulder. That takes guts, too, to go with his great anticipation and accuracy as a thrower.

I'm looking forward to this game. I'll watch all the players, of course. But I'll admit that Arizona's No. 13 will get my full attention.

Ron Jaworski

NFL analyst / writer
Ron Jaworski is one of the most popular and knowledgeable analysts covering the NFL today. Since joining ESPN in 1990, the former standout NFL quarterback has covered the league from virtually every angle -- sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host and both studio and game analyst. From 2007-11, Jaworski occupied one of the most coveted positions in sports as a Monday Night Football analyst.