Skip to main content

Cardinals Practice Notebook: J.J. Watt Speaks About Facing Texans

The Arizona Cardinals got Kelvin Beachum and Justin Pugh back on the practice field Thursday.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt spoke with the media after Thursday's practice.

Of course, he answered several questions about facing the Houston Texans Sunday, the team with which he built his star reputation. 

He said it has been a little different studying them on tape, and seeing NRG Stadium where he dominated for a decade. 

But he joked that he will remember which team to tackle Sunday at State Farm Stadium. 

"Such a massive amount of love and respect for the city, for the fans, for everybody that was involved with making the memories that happened there," Watt said. 

"But at the same time, sometimes things happen and a new opportunity has to arise and I'm very thankful and happy for where I am right now."

Practice notes

Who was there, who was not

The Cardinals had another long injury report Wednesday afternoon, but got reinforcements back, especially on offense.

The starting offensive line was present during the open portion of practice with right tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) and left guard Justin Pugh (back) returning to the field.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins also made it back after a rest day. 

On defense, linebacker Zaven Collins (shoulder) was participating after a limited Wednesday. Edge rusher Devon Kennard (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday but was in uniform Thursday.

MIKE 'backer Jordan Hicks, tight end Darrell Daniels, edge rusher Kylies Fitts and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence were all absent. 

Those on the COVID-19 list all remained out. 

Rodney Hudson's leadership

Cardinals offensive line coach Sean Kugler spoke to the media after practice. He confirmed that center Rodney Hudson made the trip to Cleveland last week.

Hudson is on injured reserve and did not have to go, but he wanted to support his team and help where needed. 

Read More

"He sensed that the team at that point needed him," Kugler said. "The thought process was to have him heal up and not travel with his ribs. But he decided to come and be a part of the process."

Hudson sat with backup center Max Garcia after each possession and gave instruction. 

"We can't wait until Rodney gets back, but he's a leader even when he's not out on the field," Kugler said.

Close offensive line 

Kugler said he has not seen many offensive line groups quite like the one the Cardinals have. 

Photo: Alex Weiner, Sports Illustrated

By this, he was talking about just how close everyone is.

"These guys go to dinner, they go to dinner with Kyler (Murray) every week and the quarterbacks," Kugler said. "They hang out together off the field. They enjoy each other. If you were in our room, we get our work done, but these guys have a good time with each other."

Championship aspirations 

Wide receiver A.J. Green also spoke with the media following practice. 

He and Watt have some things in common. 

Both players had massive success with other teams for a long time, but neither won or even made it to the Super Bowl. 

That's what is driving them both this year.

"When you get later in your career, you have the money, you have the success but you're missing that one thing, that's just winning a championship," Green said. "I think it's (helped) drive guys like (DeAndre Hopkins) and I to go out there and be unselfish because we want to win that big (game). I think that's when your legacy takes the next step."

"It's the only thing driving me now," Watt said. "I've made a lot of money in this league, fortunately, I have won individual awards in this league, accomplished things in this league. There's one thing that I haven't accomplished that I want to accomplish, and it's the only thing that matters."

Practice clip

Daily stat

The Cardinals total DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) on Football Outsiders is 33.9%, second-highest in the NFL.

Football Outsiders projected before the season it would be minus-3.7%, 20th in the league.