‘Heart of Cardinals defense’ Jordan Hicks more than deserving of DPOW

Dec 8, 2021, 3:44 PM

Jordan Hicks #58 and Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after Hicks sacked Andy Dalt...

Jordan Hicks #58 and Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after Hicks sacked Andy Dalton #14 of the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field on December 05, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks is having a career year in Arizona.

After earning the right as the team’s starting MIKE backer despite the addition of rookie Zaven Collins and his offseason anointment that came with it, Hicks has thrived in his third season under head coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, both on and off the field.

“There’s nobody I respect more in this league, really, as a person, watching how he handled that with grace, poise and professionalism that he used throughout that process,” Kingsbury said Wednesday.

“It’s a business for all of us and we understand that and there’s decisions that have to be made and sometimes they don’t go the way you want. But he worked his tail off and has come out and had a tremendous season. Couldn’t be more happy for him.”

Entering Week 14’s Monday Night Football matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Hicks paces the team in tackles with 95 and sits among the top 20 in that category league-wide. With five more tackles, Hicks will have recorded at least 100 in all three seasons he’s been in Arizona.

The linebacker hasn’t stopped there, setting a new career high in sacks with five to go along with four passes defensed, a forced fumble and a five QB hits.

Hicks turned in his best effort of 2021 so far this past Sunday in Chicago, recording a season-high 13 tackles, two sacks and two QB hits in the 33-22 victory over the Bears.

“He’s the heart of our defense and he is the quarterback of the defense,” Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones said Wednesday. “It’s his job to get everyone right and nine times out of 10, he’s gonna be the one who sees it first. … Having Jordan on our defense is very helpful and very advantageous for us for sure.”

For his play, Hicks was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, the sixth weekly award an Arizona player has received this year.

It’s no surprise to his coaches and teammates, who see firsthand just how dedicated the linebacker is to his craft.

“Jordan is a player that — he’s gonna show up and ball every Sunday. And one thing I will put my word on this, that’s what he’ll do,” Jones said. “So despite of whatever happened to him in the offseason or whatever the situation may be, I feel like Jordan is a guy that he’s gonna come out and play and I knew he was gonna come out and do what he’s doing this season.

“I’ve been excited watching Jordan … so [winning NFC DPOW] is just another one for our defense and for Jordan that’s huge, so hats off to him and hopefully he can keep that going.”

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