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Kingsbury: J.J. Watt’s the type of player you don’t want to let down

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The Arizona Cardinals’ newest defensive lineman is no slouch.

After an illustrious career with the Houston Texans that included three Defensive Player of the Year honors, J.J. Watt now hangs his hat in the desert.

Watt hasn’t played a single snap yet in his new threads, but the defensive lineman’s aura is already being felt throughout the Cardinals organization.

“J.J. Watt has the type of presence that you don’t want to let him down,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said via Zoom on Thursday. “You’ve saw, you’ve heard some of the quotes come out of Tampa with Tom [Brady] and guys just don’t want to let that type of player with that type of work ethic and that type of legend — they don’t want to let him down.

“They don’t want to be that guy that doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. J.J. brings a similar presence with all he’s accomplished and his work ethic and the type of person he is. I do think that that can be a big proponent of where we’re trying to head this next season.”

Watt’s ability to disrupt opposing offenses is well-known. Over the course of his 10-year career (128 games), Watt has registered 101 sacks, 531 tackles, 172 of which were for losses, 25 forced fumbles and 61 passes defensed. He also added 282 QB hits. He now joins forces with outside linebacker Chandler Jones, who has 97 sacks and 106 tackles for loss on his resume.

Watt’s numbers are ungodly, but what separates lineman from other stars across the league is how he handles himself off the field.

“It starts with his play on the field, there’s no question he’s a phenomenal talent on the field, three-time Defensive Player of the Year,” Kingsbury said. “He’s been one of the top players in this league since he entered the league, but then all the things he brings off of it.

“You’re talking about his leadership, his preparation, his daily practice habits. The intensity he brings to our locker room. It’s going to be huge for this organization. Just can’t wait to be around him. I don’t know him well yet but I’m excited to just see how he operates on a daily basis.”

As for Watt’s ability as a pass catcher? We’ll leave that up to Kingsbury to tinker with.

“I’ve seen those. I know he has the ability and started out as a tight end. We’ll see if we can work him in there,” Kingsbury said.

EXTRA POINTS

– Kingsbury on Larry Fitzgerald’s future plans:

“I don’t know anything, but obviously it’s been an honor to come in as a young coach from college and just the way he embraced the coaching and offense, his work ethic. He’s an all-time great, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best players to play the game and one of the best people I’ve been around.

“Just the way he treats our staff, the people in the building, the fans. He’s phenomenal. I hope he plays five more years.”

– Kingsbury on offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who was just promoted to run game coordinator:

“Coach Kugler’s role will be similar. Obviously we’re going to take a lot of input from him just like we have and I don’t think that will change too much. He’s had a tremendous amount of input on the offense, our gameday on play calls so that’ll continue as it is.”


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