‘Impressed’ by Arizona Cardinals, LB Jordan Hicks excited to get started
Jordan Hicks felt that the Arizona Cardinals were an “enticing” option for him.
The 26-year-old inside linebacker officially signed as a free agent with the Cardinals on Friday, and described the excitement surrounding the organization when he was introduced in Cardinal red for the first time. Arizona was his choice after an offseason in which Hicks drew interest from multiple teams.
“There were a few teams involved,” he told reporters Friday. “But definitely not a surprise [that I signed here]. My relationships with [linebackers] Coach [Bill] Davis and just the fact that this team is exciting right now. A young coach, new staff, young team, great defense. For me, it was really enticing to come here. I’m proud to be here.”
Hicks joins the Cardinals after spending the last four seasons — all of his time in the NFL — with the Eagles, where he won a Super Bowl. But it’s the Cardinals, a team that went 3-13 last season, that has Hicks looking forward to a new opportunity.
“Definitely was weighing options, but at the end of the day man, I was pretty impressed with everything that was going on here and excited,” Hicks said. “There’s a buzz around this team. For me, it was a no-brainer at the end of the day. This place is great for my family, but then you speak about football, it’s going to be a fun time.
“As I talked to the coaches, as I talked to guys, there’s definitely a will to turn things around. And at the end of the day, it’s just playing well and finishing. In my time playing, that’s really what it’s about, just execution. And so I can’t wait to get started in OTAs and meet all the guys, and like I said, get this thing rolling.”
Bill Davis, whom the Cardinals hired this offseason after he was the linebackers coach at Ohio State last year, was Hicks’ defensive coordinator in Philadelphia at one point. Now, the two reunite in the desert. Hicks also joins fellow linebacker Joe Walker, who played for the Eagles in 2017.
It doesn’t hurt that Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones are waiting for Hicks to join them on the defense, too.
“First off, the talent on the defense speaks for itself,” he said. “But to come in and to be able to be apart of it, to be a linebacker, Mike backer in [defensive coordinator Vance] Joseph’s defense is exciting. He likes to bring some heat and keep it simple and play fast and be physical. That’s what I do. I consider myself a playmaker and I’m excited to get this thing rolling, man. It’s going to be fun times.”
After meeting with reporters, Hicks also joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta, to whom he elaborated more of his reasoning for joining the Cards.
“You’re around the city and you can just tell, with the No. 1 pick, with the new coaching staff, and then you’re here at the facility, guys are in already getting workouts in and staying around,” Hicks said. “You can just see it, man. There’s a lot going on. With teams like this, it’s exciting, it’s fun. It kind of feels like a new beginning. And again, we’re coming in trying to build on what’s already been built here, but at the end of the day, we’re all in a new position with the new coaching staff and everything. So it’s exciting, it really is.”
The Cardinals enter 2019 with a new head coach at the helm in Kliff Kingsbury, who was hired for his offensive acumen. Hicks will, of course, play defense, but he shared his thoughts on Kingsbury, having played against him in the Big 12 when Hicks was at Texas.
On Kingsbury making the jump from college to the NFL:
“I don’t think necessarily it’s that big of a deal,” Hicks said. “If you’re a good coach, you’re a good coach at the end of the day. Everything I’ve heard — being in the Big 12 in college, going against him, at the end of the day and talking to players that have played for him, they love him. The energy he brings and the way players relate to him, he understands. For me, it’s a great opportunity, it’s exciting to be here again and I think he’s a great addition.”
On what it’s like playing against an offense like Kingsbury’s:
“Tough, man. Big 12 by itself is tough. But when you’ve got a team that is no huddle, that is on the line in 10 seconds, as a defense, it puts the pressure on you. You’re already tired from being on the field the whole time. It’s tough. Communication-wise, I think I learned a lot from going against those type of offense, how to communicate well and how to get everybody lined up. It’s tough, though.”