Team success ranks above personal accolades for Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks has three goals during his playing days: Win games, make memories and garner respect from those around him.
Check, check and check.
After enduring an offseason in which he was supplanted in the lineup by rookie backer Zaven Collins, Hicks not only took back his starting role, he’s thrived in it.
Teammates such as Chandler Jones have called him the heart of Arizona’s defense. Others like head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he hopes one day when he has a son that he handles adversity just as Hicks did this past offseason.
There’s no questioning the team’s respect for the linebacker. But the buck hasn’t stopped there, with the NFL recognizing Hicks’ two-sack, 13-tackle performance last Sunday in Arizona’s 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears by naming him NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
It marked the seventh game Hicks recorded at least eight tackles, including four double-digit efforts.
But if you ask Hicks, he was just in the right place at the right time, crediting the defense as a whole and the team’s overall success helping amplify individual efforts.
“Person awards come with team success,” Hicks said Friday. “I look at that game and it was a game where I just made the plays that were coming my way. We did a great job executing, making plays and it just happened to be a game where I had a lot come my way.
“The focus is winning, the focus is execution each week and building on what we’ve done so far. It’s nice to have personal success but it’s also better to have team success and get that win.”
— Tyler Drake (@Tdrake4sports) December 10, 2021
The award also symbolizes the mental fortitude Hicks has, having to go through a bit of a roller coaster this past offseason to get to where he’s at today. It’s an accomplishment that goes beyond the football field.
“I think it shows the mindset, the mental toughness that has been brought forth,” Hicks said. “To be able to go through that and continue to push and have a smile on your face — as a man that’s what you push for.
“As a father, as somebody who does this for respect, that’s what I do this for. When I preach to my kids one day, ‘When you’re facing something tough, you gotta push through it,’ there’s an example put on the table that I set.”
While Hicks can argue his first year in Arizona was filled with more interceptions and big plays, 2021 is figuring to be a career year.
Through 12 games, Hicks has recorded a career-high five sacks. He’s also up to 95 tackles, already the third-best mark in his career, to go along with five QB hits and four pass deflections.
Hicks is truly a leader on and off the field, being that mentor and leader to Collins and the rest of the defense while letting his play speak for itself.
It speaks volumes about the person Hicks is.
“It’s been kind of an up-and-down year for Hicks with the way things started out with Zaven and everything,” defensive lineman Corey Peters said Friday. “He handled that situation like a true professional and has been one of our best players. … He’s been instrumental to our success from [a communication and leadership] standpoint, probably the most important person if you’re looking at it from that prism.
“I hope that in his career, guys will really understand what he’s been through this year and the true professional he is to be able to deal with that and not miss a beat.”