NASHVILLE, April 25 (UPI) -- Kurt Warner experienced both sides of the spectrum during his Hall of Fame NFL career.
He entered the league in 1998 as a backup with the St. Louis Rams. In the next season he became an All-Pro and won the Super Bowl. After several Pro Bowl seasons, Warner went on to the New York Giants, where he would be the veteran starter in front of Eli Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Manning took that job and ran with it, but now he could be the one running from another emerging young arm. The Giants own the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and many -- including Manning -- expect the team to take a quarterback.
Warner believes Manning will be a great mentor to whoever is in the Giants quarterbacks room, but that doesn't mean it won't be challenging.
"The biggest challenge is that your leash is always short," Warner said. "The biggest challenge is performing every single week. Anytime you slip up, no matter how good you've been, it's an opportunity for everybody to sit back and go 'is it time? Is he hitting the wall?' Two games .. in a row 'oh my gosh.'
"I think that's always the hardest part. It's not being able to deal with that guy, being able to show him all your tricks or show him to be a pro. It's hard to perform extremely well at this business at the quarterback position every single week. And when you got a guy behind you and you know know any slip up, there is going to be people clamoring or looking around, you start wondering if that's the moment."
Warner says managing that emotion is difficult as is preparing to play your game without thinking about the player behind you.
"We are all human," Warner said. "It's hard to do."
Manning, 38, is entering his 16th season. After splitting time with Warner, he became an NFL 'Iron Man,' starting every game for the Giants from 2005 through 2016. He missed his first start during his tenure as a full-time starter in 2017. He responded to the one-game benching in 2017 by completing a career-best 66 percent of his passes for 4,299 yards, 21 scores and 11 interceptions in 16 starts in 2018.
Still, the doubters flocked around the four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion. But Warner says Manning didn't just forget how to play the position.
"When you play the game a certain way, inside the pocket and don't necessarily play it based on having a canon arm, you don't just all the sudden hit a wall and forget how to play," Warner said.
Warner said Manning's greatest strengths are when he has the ability to stand in the pockets and see things down field and assess what is happening before making plays. When he hasn't had that time, he has always had limitations on what he can do from the mobility standpoint.
"I think what you have seen over the last couple of years is his deficiencies are showing because of the deficiencies of the football team," Warner said. "When you start to correct some of those things, as we saw at moments last year, you say 'oh look Eli can still make all the throws he has made before. He can still throw the ball far enough and he has that talent level.' That to me is what this is about."
Warner said Manning can still play if the Giants put enough talent around him, but the question is how long he wants to play.
"People can say a lot of different things, but I think Eli will be a great mentor to whoever is in that room," Warner said. "He will treat them with class and he will share his secrets and prepare them as best he can. He'll be a great pro at that. Even if nobody wants to do that ... nobody ever wants to do that. Nobody ever wants to like the guy who is going to take your job, standing next to you."