J.J. Watt’s quick recovery has Cardinals feeling confident

(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images) J.J. Watt
(Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images) J.J. Watt /

An incredible return to health by defensive end J.J. Watt should provide a huge lift for the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals.

When Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt suffered a serious shoulder injury back on October 24, the initial prognosis was downright devastating to the organization and its fans.

According to reports, the 32-year-old Watt would be lost for the remainder of the season. Fortunately for the Cardinals, the disheartening news was anything but acceptable to the superstar defensive end.

In what is being called a “miraculous” recovery, it was announced on Friday that Watt was being designated to return from Arizona’s injured-reserve list. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has already stated that the veteran won’t play against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, but there’s real optimism that Watt will return for the Cards’ first-round playoff game.

It would be a tremendous lift for the “Big Red” defense, who have not been the same without the five-time Pro Bowler in the lineup. While the statistics may not show it, Watt’s presence on the field did wonders for coordinator Vance Joseph‘s unit during the team’s 7-0 start to the 2021 campaign.

J.J. Watt is scheduled to return at the perfect time for the Arizona Cardinals

Following Watt’s injury, the Cardinals went on a downward spiral defensively. The group hit rock bottom during a three-game losing streak last month that included defeats to the Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, and Indianapolis Colts. Arizona gave up 82 points during the stretch, including an embarrassing 30-burger to the lowly Lions on December 19.

The Cards defenders appeared to regain their early-season form during last week’s 25-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Joseph’s aggressive scheme applied constant pressure to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and allowed Dallas to gain just 45 yards on the ground.

Watt’s return can only add to the momentum that the week 17 triumph established for the franchise. Kingsbury seemed elated when describing what the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year brings to the Cardinals.

"“It’s big time to have that type of player to come back and be around your guys. Everybody in this building has the utmost respect for what he’s accomplished and how he works and what he’s about. He leads through his actions and his words. Guys definitely perk up anytime ’99’ is around.”"

Kudos to Watt for attacking his rehab in a way that has defied the odds. Arizona was fortunate back in March when the free-agent decided to flock to the desert. One thing’s for certain, the team’s chances of winning a Super Bowl championship just went up considerably with Watt returning in time for the postseason.

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