Martz wants Warner to run

Thursday, December 13, 2001

ST. LOUIS -- When it comes to running, Kurt Warner is no Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper. Still, St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz would like to see his quarterback tuck the ball and take off a little more often.

"He needs to," Martz said. "There's some coverage stuff where (defenses) have started to go so deep, and if he has to hold (the ball) for a certain length of time I'd like to see him take off and go with it and just go down."

Warner is known for his arm and passing accuracy, not for his speed. But in Sunday's 27-14 win over San Francisco, Warner scrambled for a 23-yard gain that was a key part of a drive late in the second quarter that put the Rams up 21-7. He even took on a tackler rather than dive to avoid contact.

Warner would have been wise to run again in the third quarter when he avoided the rush and seemingly had 5 yards of open space in front of him. Instead he forced a pass into coverage and was intercepted.

That's what Martz was talking about. He wants Warner to run if there's room to spare.

Warner's second-quarter scramble "was a great example of how big (running) can be," Martz said. "That was a difference maker, really, in the game. He needs to be able to do that. He has done that in the past and in some coverages I've encouraged it."

As for Warner's speed, Martz ducked the matter when asked, lightheartedly, how Warner would do against the clock. "That's a no win deal for me," Martz said.

Your time in the 40-yard dash, Kurt?

"Oh, I don't know, 4.3 or 4.4" seconds, Warner said. "Right up there with the rest of the group."

No, seriously.

"Just fast enough to get down before they hit me," he said.

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