Isaiah Simmons will call Cardinals defense Week 1 vs. Chiefs
TEMPE — This offseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Arizona Cardinals’ defense has been, simply: Who is going to call it?
On Tuesday, we finally got an answer — for Week 1 at least.
No, it’s not the young Zaven Collins, the veteran Nick Vigil or even safety Jalen Thompson.
It’s star backer Isaiah Simmons, who confirmed Tuesday that he will wear the green dot helmet and relay defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s play-calls to his teammates when the Kansas City Chiefs visit Arizona on Sept. 11.
“I like it. I get to hear the play first so I can’t forget it,” Simmons said with a smile. “I don’t have to worry about not hearing the call from anyone or anything like that sort.
“So far, I feel like in the past we’ve had some times where guys aren’t getting the call, but with me being involved with the secondary, I realize the stress of getting the call to everybody, especially the far-side corner. I feel like ever since I started calling it, we’ve been able to get the call out and get lined up.”
It’s clear Simmons hasn’t only picked up the new sparkling title of “star backer.” He’s gained even more of Joseph’s trust in getting the unit set, taking over a role vacated by now-Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Simmons had a mic in his helmet regularly during practices and training camp. Taking the green dot isn’t new.
Week 1 will be, however, the first time he calls the defense in a live game. Simmons didn’t play in three preseason outings and has never been the one verbally in charge of making sure his teammates can hear the play-calls.
“Every other defense I’ve been in has been a signal-based defense,” Simmons said. “It’s something different. I definitely have to condition more for it. It’s a whole other breath. Other than that, it’s not too bad. I actually like it.”
And just because he approves of the added role, doesn’t mean he hasn’t at times overloaded while listening to Joseph rattle off instructions from the sideline.
“VJ pulled me to the side and he’s like, ‘Everything I say in the mic I need you to tell everybody,'” Simmons said. “Sometimes he just talks the whole time, so I’m over there like, ‘Oh my God, are you serious?’
“It’s all for the good though. It’s all helpful things. I understand that if he’s telling me that it’s important for everybody.”