Dialing down the Wattage

Posted by Darren Urban on November 8, 2013 – 9:48 am

Eric Winston has seen J.J. Watt many times — the two were teammates in Houston. From the start, the current Cardinals right tackle said, it was obvious Watt was doing to be a good defensive lineman. “You didn’t know how good,” Winston said. “He’s the best of the best.”

The Texans come into University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday bringing along with them the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL (although they have an incongruous 2-6 record, but that’s a discussion for another post.) That defense is led by Watt, the maniacal, sack-grabbing, pass-knockdown king.

“I don’t think it’s an overstatement when (Texans defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) said before the season he’s a Hall of Famer,” Winston said. “No one has blocked him yet. Hopefully I can get in his way a few times.”

How the Cardinals handle Watt — or at least, deal with him — will be one of the more important aspects of Sunday’s game. Starting left tackle Bradley Sowell has been slowed by illness and, as of Friday morning, his status remains up in the air. But it’s not like Watt is going to walk over to right defensive end and stay there. Cardinals offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin said the Texans move Watt around considerably in sub-packages, and there is a good chance every single one of the offensive linemen will get at least a taste of Watt Sunday.

Watt had a spectacular year last season — his stats were just silly — with sacks and pass bat-downs. Those numbers a lower this year, but he has still been dominant — has him leading the league in run stops (23) and quarterback disruptions (41). Officially, he has 5½ sacks, 13 tackles for loss and the respect of every opponent as he bids for a second straight defensive player of the year award.

Carson Palmer has struggled when feeling pressure, which Watt and former Cardinal Antonio Smith figure to provide. What makes Watt so frustrating is his ability to get his arms in the passing lanes and knock down a pass even when he can’t get to the QB. Palmer said as a quarterback, you can’t just start changing arm angles or adjusting passes out of Watt fear. “Odds are he’s done it every game and it will happen,” Palmer said. “You just have to reload and go to the next play.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians called blocking Watt “an all-day chore.” The Cardinals have struggled with top rushers like the Rams’ Robert Quinn and the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett. It figures to be a turning point Sunday. Watt knows this. Asked how he would handle himself if he were scheming an offense, Watt briefly paused.

“That’s a good question,” Watt said. “I’d use two guys.”


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Posted in Blog | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Dialing down the Wattage”

  1. By Chuck 1 on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    Watt’s dominance just emphasizes the Cards’ need to draft, in an early round, a top DL/pass rusher.

  2. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    It goes back to the discussion this blog had in 2011 before the draft;

    Is it a bigger priority to have a pass rusher or a CB. The discussion was centered around PP and Von Miller / Aldon Smith / Robert Quinn
    (I think Watt was believed to be a good player, but not a dominant player like he is).
    There were many on PP’s side, I know I wanted Miller or Quinn (until the trade came available), and if I am not mistaken, Darren, you thought the passrusher was a greater priority (without putting names into the equation).

    I wonder how this board feels two years removed and seeing how things turned out.

  3. By Darren Urban on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: 2011 draft

    I did think it was a bigger priority. And I am confident they would have taken Miller if given the chance.

  4. By jasonc on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    I agree, if Miller and PP were both available we’d have taken Miller. I love PP and I think he is a special player, but a dominate pass rusher makes lesser CB’s look better than they are. The real crime of that draft was taking Rob Housler when the next pick was Justin Houston.

  5. By Chris B on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    Run away from him or keep two guys on him. Don’t pretend he isnt the best in the game. Our guys aren’t good enough to block him one on one.

  6. By D on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply

    Offseason Hershal Walker trade for AZ.
    Send Larry Fitz, R. Williams and 3rd round draft pick for JJ Watts…..excuse me while I wake up from my dream…

    Cards better run the ball and do quick dump off passes to Ellington…5 step drop back and Carson will be eating the nice UofP sod that has been waiting for football…..

  7. By ben on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply


    The crazy part of that draft is we got:

    Ryan Williams
    Rob Housler

    We could have had (Drafted close to both but after):

    Kyle Rudolph
    Demarco Murray

    Neither are amazing pro-bowlers, but would much rather have that than what we got.

    I personally was livid with the Ryan Williams pick at the time and was screaming for Rudolph. Murray I liked, but after we had Williams I forgot about him.

  8. By ored on Nov 8, 2013 | Reply


  9. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 9, 2013 | Reply

    Ben and jasonc;

    I love the woulda , coulda , shoulda game. But not sure I agree with your picks Ben. How about this instead.

    Cards trade with Atlanta getting a 1, 2, 4 and next years one.
    Cards trade with N.O. getting a 2 and next years one.

    With the cards 3 #2’s , Take
    Orlando Franklin RT
    Torry Smith WR
    Ryan Mallet – QB

    In round 3
    Justin Houston OLB
    In round 4, (2 picks)
    Trade up by giving up a 6 to jump Cleveland for Jordon Cameron
    Our 2nd 4, take starting CB Buster Skrine
    And in the 5th
    Richard Sherman

    With 3 #1’s , you could have had OLB Chandler Jones, G Kevin Zietler and LT Cordy Glenn. Not to mention a nice 5th rounder in Alfred Morris.

    I think Whiz would still have his job and we would be in pretty good shape.

  10. By jasonc on Nov 9, 2013 | Reply


    That’s why I like that you post on this board…you don’t just go back a pick! You make fake trades and get us a haul of young talent. Well done sir.

  11. By John The Draft Guy on Nov 9, 2013 | Reply


    Dont forget, both of those trades happened.

    Instead, Cleveland traded with Atlanta and landed;
    NT Phil Taylor
    WR Greg Little
    FB Owen Marecic
    QB Brandon Weedon

    The Patriots made the trade with the saints and landed;
    RB Shane Vereen
    OLB Chandler Jones

    OK, not block buster game changing picks. As for the cards, I was all behind the trade with Atlanta who traded with Cleveland for Julio Jones. I thought we could have traded down and landed a QB later in round one and gathered extra picks.

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