For the second time in less than a calendar year, the Arizona Cardinals shook the NFL world following the free agent signing of former Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Among those in disbelief when they heard the news (along with the rest of us) was former Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer.
But after getting the chance to digest the acquisition, the Cardinals Ring of Honor member thinks the move can benefit the team both on and off the field.
“I think there’s a certain level of pride that you can take as an Arizona Cardinal knowing that your organization, your city, your fan base can attract a J.J. Watt size player,” Palmer told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Thursday. “I think it’s good on so many levels. He’s a great player, a great locker room guy.
“There’s some hidden things in there too. … It’s not just that you went and got a good defensive lineman. There’s some underlying goodness in this for the organization, for the fan base and for the players that they are trying to re-sign in the future.”
On the field, Palmer believes the addition of Watt will have an impact on the opposing team’s gameplan against the Cardinals in 2021.
“We have to get the ball out quick, we cannot hold the ball,” Palmer said with his offensive coordinator hat on. “We cannot be in seven-step drops. We have to limit our five-step drops, we have to throw a bunch of screens. We have to run the ball at them.
“We can’t do our long play-action deep shots down the field because you got Chandler (Jones) on one side and maybe even Chandler and J.J. on the same side rushing the passer.”
But Watt won’t just benefit the Cardinals pass-rush, which was ranked fourth-best in the NFL last season. The addition of the All-Pro defensive lineman will also allow the secondary to be more aggressive in coverage.
“DBs — get up and press and do not let these guys off the line of scrimmage. The ball has to come out quick. We have Chandler and J.J. going after the quarterback,” Palmer said now with his defensive coordinator hat on.
“There’s a trickle-down effect too because he’s not just the pass-rusher that we’ve seen dominate games, he’s really become a great run-stopper too. … It’s just another problem you have to prepare for with Chandler and J.J. on the field at the same time.”