Ring any bells?
"I was devastated," Vermeil recalled Thursday.
After two years of tedious rebuilding and signing Green as a marquee free agent, the veteran head coach expected his
Everything changed when Green was carted off with a season-ending injury that would dramatically alter the fortunes of his career, the
At a team meeting the following morning Vermeil stared out at the forlorn faces of his shell-shocked team and confronted his greatest challenge in 15 years as an
"I remember it vividly," he recalled in a telephone interview. "I explained exactly what was happening, that we were going to go with Kurt. I told them we put two years into building a playoff-caliber team and this doesn't mean we can't be what we thought we were going to be.
"We will rally around
Warner heard Vermeil's resolve. Were the
"I'm not sure if Dick really believed what he was saying that day, but it didn't matter because he made us believe it," Warner recounted. "I know I believed in myself and just needed a chance. But I still had to go out and prove it so everyone around me didn't just think, 'Oh, great, we're stuck with this guy?' "
Two hours after Bridgewater was hauled off the practice field in an ambulance Tuesday,
Can 36-year-old career backup
It seems unlikely, though stranger things have happened.
There might never be another Cinderella story in sports like Warner's ascension from undrafted grocery packer and
Nobody saw the
Vermeil had enough confidence in Warner's potential to elevate him to No. 2 behind Green after he sailed through waivers as a third-stringer.
"Kurt played well in the preseason and we were confident he would be better than going out and getting a veteran with less than two weeks of preparation, who hadn't been in the offense," Vermeil said. "Lo and behold, he played way beyond anyone's expectations."
Like Trump out-kicking his coverage with Melania.
Warner had been buried on the bench behind
It was not until Week 8 that Warner felt had he had won over the locker room. Ironically, it was in a loss at
"We had just scored a touchdown to go ahead late, and I remember Marshall coming over to me on the sideline and giving me a little gesture that said, 'Hey, you're our guy,' " Warner said. "I never doubted my ability to play, but it wasn't until that moment that I knew the team believed in me."
Vermeil said Zimmer, who is entering his third season in
"He's authentic and honest, and I think they'll believe what he tells them," Vermeil said of Zimmer. "Do they have another
"They have a lot to build on in him," he continued. "They have a fine defense to keep everybody close enough for one or two plays to go out and win games."
Competent quarterback play remains elusive in a 32-team league where franchise fortunes can crash and burn because of catastrophic injuries or mismanagement. If star quarterbacks were in abundance, every team would have a trio on its roster as insurance for calamities like Bridgewater.
Vermeil, who retired in 2005 after this third
"You've got to expect your quarterback, no matter who he is, to play well," Vermeil said. "You can win along with him, not because of him. But it's hard to win in spite of him."
The man would know.
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