McNulty Tapping Lessons From Brunell, Warner

June 10th, 2013

En route to becoming the Bucs’ new quarterbacks coach, John McNulty had two well known gunslingers help teach him the art of QB communication: Pro Bowlers Mark Brunell and Kurt Warner.

McNulty entered the NFL as a quarterbacks assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars learning under Chris Palmer, Bobby Petrino and perhaps more importantly, Brunell, That was back in 1998, when the Jaguars were a powerhouse under Tom Coughlin, who ran nearly the same offense the Bucs are running now, McNulty explained to Joe today.

“It was a unique perspective to sit in the room and watch the way a couple of different guys would try to communicate things in this [Bucs] system, what was kind of understood and what wasn’t, what they thought [Brunell] understood and what [Brunell] would turn around and look at me and say, ‘That doesn’t make any sense.’ Just to see it from the player’s perspective was invaluable.”

McNulty later was a heralded receivers coach with the Arizona Cardinals. He described Warner as operating a clinic on quarterback leadership, something McNulty soaked up.

“Working with Kurt Warner [as receivers coach] for a couple of years in Arizona was really enlightening because Kurt was a guy that kind of ran the show himself and showed a quarterback can convey the urgency needed and tell guys exactly what he wants, and he was able to back it up on Sunday with his performance. So that was really quite an experience,” McNulty said.

Will any of this mean McNulty is an effective quarterbacks coach for Josh Freeman?

No. But it offers perspective on McNulty’s clear focus on communication and preparation versus mechanics.

McNulty was a “scout team” level defensive back at Penn State when he met Greg Schiano, who was a graduate assistant coach there. The two loosely kept in touch before Schiano added him to the Rutgers staff, where McNulty became offensive coordinator.

Years in the college ranks didn’t wipe out McNulty’s deep knowledge of the Bucs’ offense, which he told Joe multiple times is a near clone to what Tom Coughlin ran in Jacksonville and New York.

McNulty said he’s being patient with Josh Freeman, even in the face of extreme pressure to succeed from various sources.

“It took Brunell a few years. It took Eli a few years in this system. It takes time to just be able to go out there and just do it,” McNulty said. “So you try to simulate those reps as much as you can in the classroom, because physically it’s just hard to get all the looks and the different plays and all that. And [Freeman’s] been excellent with it.

“And I mean it could tire you out where you get to the point where you say, ‘Hey, c’mon. I got this.” But he’s been very good with [studying.] He’s a very intelligent football player. He knows a lot of football. He’s played in a lot of systems. So, you know, he’s able to funnel all of that knowledge and energy into, “Here’s what we’re doing here.” You know what I mean, when you’ve played in three or four different systems, you can kind of just run them together. So I think the second year with this, what we’re asking him to do, he’s done a great job with it so far.”

Again, McNulty is dialed in to the details of Josh Freeman’s preparation and communication, all while he balances trying to get a rookie QB ready to win a football game. He’s got his plate super full.

If somehow McNulty can pass on some of the Warner leadership or the precision of Brunell successfully, then the Bucs will benefit big time.

26 Responses to “McNulty Tapping Lessons From Brunell, Warner”

  1. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    Bravo, Joe! Great post! Best of off-season.

  2. Andrew 1 Says:

    Man what I would give to be a fly on the wall of that QBs room…

    anyways, we dont ask for much McNulty, just make Free a more consistent QB.

  3. ChefPaul Says:

    “It took Brunell a few years. It took Eli a few years in this system” Uh-oh. It looks like McNulty is making “excuses”

  4. stanglassman Says:

    Yes very insightful. I can’t wait to hear what Freeman a boob has to say about this article. Maybe something about a scarecrow can’t find his brain or maybe he sat next to him again (for the 3rd time) on a plane ride and will enlighten us on how dumb J-Fro is and how he can’t form a sentence.

  5. Andrew 1 Says:

    cant wait till Freeman proves all you haters wrong… and dont worry Ill be here to remind you.

  6. PRBucFan Says:

    We’ve all been waiting for him to be “The” guy lol, it’s not like we want him to fail.

    Let’s hope your right.

    As far as this article goes I like McNulty, I loved the signing, hopefully he can impart some of his knowledge into Free and also Glennon.

  7. Couch Fan Says:

    I cant wait for him to prove me wrong either!

  8. Tiny Tim Says:

    @ chefpaul’

    Its not excuses. Its called facts. Look back at Brunell and Manning. It did take them a few years to fully grasp this system. Why crucify Josh if it takes him a few years as well? I am so sick of this microwave society. He showed he could put up some good numbers in this system and thats not even really knowing the system. Calm down please.

  9. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Couch Fan

    all I want to gauge is what its going take for you to say Freeman is a good QB.

    is it a 4000 yard passing season? is it 35 touchdowns with interceptions in the single digits? is it a 60% completion percentage? because if its just a playoff berth then I am fully confident you will be eating crow along with the rest of the Freeman haters. you can call it unrealistic, but the way I see it is its only a matter of time.

  10. BucJunkie Says:

    McNulty’s been around a few good QB’s. Hopefully, he can reach Josh and help guide him into the next level.

  11. Couch Fan Says:


    Its much more simpler than what you are gauging him on. Consistent play, thats it. I dont care about stats. Consistent good football. Not great but not “Why did we draft this bum?” awful. Hopefully resulting in more wins than losses and a trip to the playoffs.

    I never said its unrealistic for him to have a great year. I just personally dont believe in him. As I said before. I cant wait for him to prove me wrong!

  12. Buc-n-Junkie Says:


    Josh is going to prove all the naysayers wrong this year, but unfortunately there will always still be the miserable naysayers, no matter what. He could set NFL records make the playoffs and there will still be some calling him a bum cause he didn’t win the Super Bowl.

  13. Bucfan Says:

    Still thought McNulty was a poor hire to coach the qbs. One year in Arizona and it was a fail as a qbs coach. Sure they didn’t have much to work with but were t there better options? I would have hired him to coach the Wrs where he had a known reputation. Fitzgerald was pissed he wasn’t retained.

    I like having McNulty on staff but the qbs and Wrs coach positions I think we’re messed up.

  14. ChefPaul Says:

    @Tiny Tim, my remark was sarcasm. I know its hard to tell through text but i thought it was pretty obvious. It was actually a remark about SteveK. Thats his favorite “excuse” from the freeman lovers. Even if EVERY SINGLE PERSON associated with the NFL says that. Im a freeman lover timmy

  15. Tiny Tim Says:


    My apologies. With so many Freeman haters on here, its hard to tell sometimes.

  16. Couch Fan Says:

    When you continually lose. Your gonna have a lot of haters. And Josh a long with the entire team have done a lot of losing. It’s no surprise most us “haters” are “hating”.

  17. PRBucFan Says:

    You guys just don’t understand..

    lol We’ve been hearing

    “Just wait till Josh Freeman proves you wrong” for YEARS now lol

    Hopefully this is actually the year he does cause he’s run out of time 🙁

  18. Tiny tim Says:

    PRbucfan you just don’t understand.

    The same things were said about Eli or Flacco or Brees, who’s first team actually selected another QB in the first round which caused them to not resign Brees because they had “better” in Rivers. How did that work out for San Diego? And some of you same clowns are clamoring for Glennon the same way. Let your QB mature please. Better yet, let him have some continuity with the system he is playing in. You microwave fans. I will start calling all of you haters Jiffy Pop!!

  19. Sneedy16 Says:


    He was a WR coach not QB coach.

  20. PRBucFan Says:

    No sir,

    Plain and simple This is his LAST chance.

    And the whole NFL world knows it and most importantly Josh knows it.

    If you want to act like a child and resort to name calling that’s fine, but I won’t bother with you after this.

    P.S. The name Josh Freeman belongs NOWHERE NEAR the Championship proven names of Eli, Flacco, and ESPECIALLY Drew Brees lmao.
    Oh and btw the whole Brees/Rivers thing lol.. most anyone (I know I didn’t)
    didn’t agree with Brees getting moved out in favor or Rivers. He didn’t deserve it, unlike Josh who has had 4 years and is on his last chance to prove he deserves a new contract.

    It’s so funny to see people classify themselves as “better” or “truer” fans because others aren’t a “players” fan like them lol. I’m a Bucs fan and I praise Josh when he deserves and I call him out when he deserves it lol. No Bias at all lol.


    I honestly do truly hope he succeeds for our franchise sake but maaaaaaan……
    I don’t know how some of the posters on this board are going to live IF Jf doesn’t work out. Maybe just follow him to his next team???

  21. Sneedy16 Says:


    Sorry I didn’t read the whole things.

  22. PRBucFan Says:

    Or at least provide an “insinuation” that they are better or truer fans lol..

    Funny stuff

  23. Tiny tim Says:

    PRbucfan again you missed it. If Eli and Flacco or Bress was so great, then their respective teams and fan bases would have never questioned them (like our fan base is doing to Josh now). That’s the comparison. Get that through your skull. The point is, those QBs had to mature. They did not step on the nfl field and become superbowl champions even though it was evident they had all the tools. They had to mature. Allow Josh to mature please. Got it? Probably not.

  24. PRBucFan Says:

    You DONT compare a proven LOSER to proven WINNERS

    End of story lol

    No one said they did step in like that and 5 damn years is not “stepping onto the field and expecting a SuperBowl buddy lol.

    Now lol, im done with you and this thread lol, Repeating the same garbage over and over like somehow it makes what your saying anymore relevant.

    Different players that at NO POINT have ever looked as bad as “Bad Josh”

    Josh only has one option. To “mature” this season whether you like it or not lol.
    That seems to be your problem, not mine, or anyone else’s.

    Lets hope he does. Im out

  25. Tiny tim Says:

    PRBuc still doesn’t get it. I am not surprised. Let me make it as elementary as possible. In Eli’s, Flacco’s first 4 years in the league, they won nothing and many of their fans wanted them gone due to the alleged inconsistencies despite the promise the Qbs showed. In brees first 5 years, he won nothing and fans and the organization wanted him gone and sent him packing. They had not won superbowls at this time in their careers. This is exactly the point Jfree is at now. Again, if you are too hasty, you may miss out on a good thing ala the San Diego Chargers. Now, my plea is to not become the San Diego chargers and follow in the footsteps of the Giants and Ravens who allowed the QB’s to mature and reach their potential. Understand? Probably not

  26. Tiny tim Says:

    PRbuc must have amnesia. He said Eli never looked like bad Josh? You even had Tiki come out and say he would never win because of his lackadaisical attitude and inconsistency which many agreed and said he would never be like Peyton. How soon we forget. I am glad you are done with this thread. You make up claims while I have been providing facts. FYI……….it takes more than a QB to win in the NFL. I am sorry if you missed that.