One of the reasons the Cardinals made DL J.J. Watt such a priority signing is the impact a healthy Watt would have beyond just the sacks, tackles for loss and general disruption on the field. Arizona identified a need for accountability, which is why it brought Watt in.
“With J.J., anywhere he goes in the building things seem to intensify and that’s what you’re looking for,” HC Kliff Kingsbury elaborated. “Whether he’s in the weight room working out or he’s doing a drill with some of those younger D-linemen, I mean he lifts up the group and so it’s been impressive to see how he carries himself. The professionalism, whether he’s in meetings or in drills, it’s just next level.”
Cardinals DC Vance Joseph believes Watt will bring the presence and accountability that Arizona needs to take the next step forward as a team into contending status.
“His work ethic and his story in undeniable and the players know that,” Joseph said. “But what he talks about, he does. He’s adored. He’s first in line with every drill. He has the awareness to help young guys get through hard times.”
Watt said being a leader is about knowing how differently to treat each teammate, but he’s still learning how to lead.
“Trust me, I’m no perfect leader by any means,” Watt said. “I don’t know if anybody is. You’re constantly evolving, constantly learning. You’re making mistakes yourself and trying to correct them. I’ve learned throughout the years by the things I’ve done right in a leadership role and I’ve learned from things I wish I did differently in a leadership role.
“So, it’s all about learning and growing yourself and being able to handle yourself first and then being able to try and lead and help others. For me, one of the biggest things is understanding who you’re dealing with because every single person is different. Every guy comes from a different background. Every guy has a different experience. Every guy has a different path that they took to get here.”
WR DeAndre Hopkins played with Watt in Houston, and knows exactly what Watt is bringing to Arizona.
“Once I heard we were getting J.J., there was a lot of excitement in my house because my family has seen him play and we know what he can do,” Hopkins said. “Just bringing that kind of tenacity that he plays with to this team and to this defense, I mean, you’ve already got guys like Budda and Chandler over there, but adding J.J. I think is a different dynamic.”
- The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes Rams DL coach Eric Henderson has seen his profile in the organization increase as the team works to make sure it can retain him for as long as possible. He was sought out by the personnel department in particular for his input in this past draft.
- PFN’s Adam Beasley says he’s hearing veteran RB Adrian Peterson is among the options the Rams are considering to potentially sign and bolster depth at running back at some point following the injury to Cam Akers.
- PFF’s Doug Kyed is told Rams RB Darrell Henderson is “the guy” for the team in the backfield to replace Akers.
- However, Henderson has struggled to stay healthy so far in his short career with the Rams and was not at 100 percent this spring. If the Rams don’t make a move, it signals their continued confidence in RB Xavier Jones, who impressed the team behind the scenes last year. (Rodrigue)
- Rodrigue adds that given the way things ended between the two sides, the idea of a reunion between the Rams and RB Todd Gurley feels like a non-starter to her.
- Although Akers was injured working out away from the team, the Rams are still expected to pay him his salary for 2021. (Mike Garafolo)
- HC Sean McVay confirmed the team will try to replace Akers in-house first: “I don’t know that veteran route is something we’ll rule out, but it’s not something we’re looking at right now.” (Rodrigue)
“Yeah, I expect Russ to be here for the foreseeable future,” Lockett said on The Dan Patrick Show, via Pro Football Talk. “Obviously, there was a lot of stuff that went on during the offseason and I think in the offseason, a lot of TV shows are off, nobody really has a lot to talk about, so they try to find things to be able to talk about. They try to read between the lines and dig in a little bit more. And that’s kind of what it’s like in society now, you try to figure out what type of news, what’s the best article to write to get a lot of people to pay attention.”