There were plenty of on-field factors that led the Cardinals to sign J.J. Watt. But what he can bring to the locker room is critical for the club, too.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was asked during his Thursday press conference how Watt might help hold players accountable. With Watt being a three-time defensive player of the year, Kingsbury related the the lineman’s instant credibility and cachet to that of Tom Brady.
“I would say J.J. Watt has the type of presence that you don’t want to let him down,” Kingsbury said. “You saw and you’ve heard some of those quotes come out of Tampa with Tom, and guys just don’t want to let that type of player with that type of work ethic, and that type of legend — they don’t want to let him down. They don’t want to be that guy that doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
“J.J. brings a similar presence with all he’s accomplished and his work ethic and the type of person he is. So I do think that can be a big proponent to where we’re trying to head this next season.”
Watt said during his own press conference this week that he feels he has “a lot” left in the tank, so he’s not just in Arizona to be a sort of vocal leader. And if Watt can do for the Cardinals what Brady did for the Buccaneers, then Arizona will be in a good spot.