The Marty Smith Podcast: Pete Werner Talks Adapting To the NFL, Opens Up About Former OSU Head Coaches Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, and Chats About Saints Teammate Jameis Winston

by Chris Haney
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It’s been a wild weekend for the hosts of The Marty Smith Podcast following a special live event in Nashville, Tennessee. However, the guys are back to business this week with another special guest in tow as they welcome New Orleans Saints linebacker Pete Werner to the program.

On the new episode, the guys get to chatting about their big week in Nashville to start the show. Outsider teamed up with NASCAR for the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend and it was a huge success. Co-hosts Marty Smith and Wes Blankenship conducted a special live podcast for the event, but there was one problem – Marty had travel issues and almost didn’t make it to Nashville.

Our host explains that whole ordeal before sharing about an amazing weekend of racing in Music City. The guys also discuss the biggest movie in the world right now, Top Gun:Maverick. They share their takes on the film before welcoming special guest and NFL pro Pete Werner to the podcast.

Werner is a second-year linebacker out of Ohio State who got drafted in the second round last year by the New Orleans Saints. The linebacker opened up about his time with the Buckeyes in college and making the transition to the NFL. Additionally, Werner talks about polarizing Saints quarterback Jameis Winston and discusses his old college coaches in Urban Meyer and Ryan Day.

Make sure to check out the whole episode in the link below or tune in wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Per usual, Outsider presents another great episode this week of The Marty Smith Podcast. Enjoy!

Pete Werner Opens Up About Adapting To the NFL On ‘The Marty Smith Podcast’

Pete Werner is still in the early stages of his NFL career at only 23 years old. After three seasons at THE Ohio State University, he decided to make the jump from college to the pros. During the 2021 NFL Draft last year, the New Orleans Saints selected Werner with a second round pick.

He’d go on to star in 15 games last season while starting in eight of them. He racked up 62 tackles during his rookie season with four tackles for loss. So on the field it seems like he’s acclimating to the league just fine. But it’s still been a huge change and large leap to the professional level.

While many players who make the NFL talk about the speed of the game being a challenge, Werner didn’t find that particular aspect of the league difficult to adjust to. However, the linebacker admits there’s a giant leap in players’ football IQs in the NFL. The knowledge players possess for the game, especially quarterbacks, makes the league a whole new ball game, according to Werner.

“The quarterbacks are so smart,” Pete Werner explained on The Marty Smith Podcast. “And if you are in a coverage and they figure out what you’re doing, they’re going to throw the hardest possible route tree in the book for that certain [defensive] coverage. So you’ve gotta do such a good job of disguising your looks. The knowledge of the game is just ramped up 100%. And that’s what makes it so hard.”

“These quarterbacks will put you in very tough situations as a defense,” he continued. “Because there’s only so much you can do as a defense. Once they kinda get you figured out, the hardest part is trying to match what the offense is showing you and playing from there. So it’s a big IQ game, which I think is the hardest part.”

The NFL Linebacker Shares the Differences Between Ohio State Head Coaches Urban Meyer to Ryan Day

In August 2018, Ohio State placed head coach Urban Meyer on administrative leave and appointed offensive coordinator Ryan Day to the coveted position. Considering Meyer’s prominence in college football at both the University of Florida and OSU, Day had big shoes to fill. And fill them he has. The Buckeyes have been a Top 6 team in the country every season since Day has taken the reins of the program.

Pete Werner was in an interesting position since his time at Ohio State fell right in between the two coaches’ tenures. Host Marty Smith asked Werner about his time playing for each and asked the linebacker to compare and contrast the pair.

“So both great coaches. Don’t have anything against them, I respect both of them. They both helped me tremendously for my career, but for different reasons,” Werner shared on The Marty Smith Podcast.

“Urban Meyer was, and obviously from the outside perspective you can get this as well, but very intense. More of a special teams guy. Great leader, motivator type of coach,” Pete Werner said of his former coach. “And he would get on you. He would get in your face. He would really teach you how to play hard. I credit him for when I first got to Ohio State to kind of developing, instilling that toughness in my mind. And getting that mental toughness ready and early.”

“Then Ryan Day comes along and he’s more the players coach,” Werner added. “Very smart IQ, and not saying Urban didn’t obviously. But [Day] was an offensive guy. He was calling a lot of plays [under Meyer], everything was in his favor. But everybody knew him. You could talk to him, you could sit down for lunch with him. He’s a great guy, just more of a players coach and just a different style, which I think college football is starting to see a little bit rather than the kinda old school look. Both great techniques, great styles. I learned and gained from both of their different styles. So I was thankful to have both of them.”

Pete Werner Explains Why the Saints Can Win With Jameis Winston as Their QB

To end the podcast, host Marty Smith brought up one of Pete Werner’s teammates in New Orleans. It’s still strange to see a different quarterback under center not named Drew Brees. The Saints are all-in on Jameis Winston who has had his ups and downs during his pro career.

Smith has covered Winston’s career since his time at Florida State where he led the Seminoles to a national championship and won the Heisman Trophy. The 28-year-old led the NFL in passing with 5,109 yards during his last full season as a starter in 2019 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He can put up some huge numbers, but he also turns the ball over at a high rate as well. Smith asked Werner about Winston and the linebacker’s answer may surprise some NFL fans.

“All my friends, like buddies, are all like, ‘Hey man, what’s Jameis like? Is he just like crazy? How is it playing [with him]?’ I’m like, ‘Whatever you think of Jameis, it’s the exact opposite. This dude is locked in all the time.’ Great player, great practice player, great teammate,” Werner said. “But he’s got this thing about him where he operates [differently]. Some people laugh. It’s just funny, but he is dead serious all the time. Just extremely intense but nobody has any idea. You see these funny interviews online and you’re like, ‘What is going on with Jameis?'”

“I mean he ate a W out of his hand, Pete. That’s pretty damn funny,” co-host Wes Blankenship chimed in as everyone laughed.

“And he is serious! He is serious, it’s hard to explain,” Werner responded.

“So expound upon that for me real quick. Why can the New Orleans Saints win with him behind center?” Marty Smith asked.

“He’s very talented. And he’s always trying to learn,” Werner answered. “When you get a guy that’s got a work ethic like him, he’s always in the building first, always the last one to leave. And I think he got that from Drew [Brees]… Very talented, his arm strength is crazy. So I think as long as he’s in the right position, and he works as hard as he is, I think he’s the guy that can make leaps that people don’t necessarily think he can do.”

The guys talk to Pete Werner about that and much more on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out their entire conversation below, or listen to the full interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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