The defensive star had not been able to participate with his new team after injuring his hamstring in the conditioning test on the day he reported to camp.
GLENDALE – The head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury, knew before JJ Watt hit the field on Monday for his first training camp practice with his new team, which he three times Defensive Player of the Year on the NFL he was going to want to push the limits and do more than he had scheduled.
This is exactly what happened.
Watt made his training camp debut in front of empty stands, now that the sessions are closed to the public. You were supposed to only participate in the individual exercises, but those guidelines became ineffective as practice progressed.
“It is part of the challenge, take it easy and trust it,” he said. Watt. “Someone just asked me how I felt and it was, ‘Like a dog chasing a tennis ball.’ You’re like, wherever you bounce, you want to go there and you’re so excited to be there, and it doesn’t matter if you go where. boot, you’re just looking for it, and that’s how I felt today.
“You’re so excited to be out there and playing with the guys, it was so much fun.”
Watt he began his first practice leading the defensive line drill by running over the bags, and from there later participated in sledding drills before the start of team period.
The plan during the camp was that Watt He will take it easy on his recovery after sustaining a hamstring injury during his conditioning test on the day the Cardinals they reported to the camp.
“We wanted to make sure we were really cautious, make sure he felt 100 percent before we got him back out there,” he said. Kingsbury during his press conference before practice.
Said Watt: “We definitely took our time.”
Watt said don’t need preseason games to know that his body is ready to play in the regular season, a feeling he has developed over the course of his first 10 seasons in the NFL.
“I’ve been to a lot of football games, I’ve been in a lot of situations, so I know what my body requires to be ready for the first game,” he explained. “I don’t think preseason games are one of those absolutely necessary things for me.”
But, Watt has stayed plugged in.
He has played in a version of the defense of the Cardinals in the past so it came to Arizona with some familiarity with the scheme, Also, he has been in the daily meetings, studying and watching video.
“So, no worries there,” he said.
The next step for Watt is to have reps with the other first-team defenders – especially the young inside linebackers. Zaven collins and Isaiah Simmons– in part to learn their tendencies and figure out whether “we’re all looking at the plays the same way.”
Watt spent the first two preseason games helping the younger players at times, when he felt it was necessary, and encouraging them in others.
With the regular season less than three weeks away, Watt he’s open to seeing a reduction in his replays this season.
Watt he has played in more than 900 reps in five of his 10 seasons. He’s made at least 741 plays in every season he’s appeared in all 16 games, something he’s accomplished seven times, but only twice in the past five years. He is coming off a full 16-game season in 2020 in which he played 978 plays.
“I think it would be beneficial to be able to cut those down a bit,” he admitted. Watt. “I mean, part of it, you just let the game go and you feel personal pride win over you, and you think, ‘I need to be there and I want to be there and make the plays,’ but then there’s also the part of be smart and understand that it’s a long season, it’s a long game, and you need to be in there in the right situation.
“So, I think when you have capable guys behind you who can come in and make plays, you’re more comfortable doing that.”