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It was bad new for Arizona Cardinals fans on Wednesday afternoon when it came out that the team placed defensive lineman J.J. Watt on PUP for a hamstring injury he suffered. He told reporters Wednesday he felt some soreness after the test. He didn’t practice Wednesday and said he wasn’t going to practice Thursday.
Now that he is on PUP, he can’t practice until taken off the list.
Based on what he said, it sounds like we might not see much of him at all on the field in training camp or the preseason.
“We’re just being very smart about it,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve been in the league 10 years and the biggest thing that I know is that it’s all about Week 1. So it’s all about being ready for September 12 and just making sure we’re taking a smart, smooth approach to that date.”
He added later that they would “take it very slow and be very smart about it.”
“It’s a hamstring, obviously, so you want to be very smart and take your time,” he said.
While it would be fun to see Watt out on the field in camp and in the preseason, there are some benefits to holding him out.
One is he is already familiar with the defense, as it is similar to what he played in when Wade Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.
He spoke of the intensity with which he works on the field, which leads to batted passes and sometimes frustration from his teammates. He will avoid that, for the most part.
It will allow the other younger defensive linemen to get needed reps and to grow in their roles.
There is also the added benefit that it will keep teams from having film of him and his role on the defense.
If I had to guess, he will remain out while the team holds its 12 public practices. Once they wrap things up at State Farm Stadium and begin to work at the facility where their practices are closed, I would bet he gets some work in before the start of the season. After all, when he was asked about how he might be used, he wouldn’t really say, joking that the reporter was trying to get him to “give away trade secrets” at the start of camp.
With his experience in the league and also the history of his body in recent years, reducing the wear and tear on his body isn’t a bad thing.
Watt did participate in everything in OTAs and minicamp and practiced hard in drills, setting an example for his teammates on the defense and on the entire defense.
The Cardinals are less than seven weeks out from the season opener. That is the goal he has in mind.
“Like I said, September 12 is the plan.”