J.J. Watt: I Still Have A Lot in the Tank

The newest Cardinal J.J. Watt says he has a lot left to give on the field, and general manager Steve Keim saw it.
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"A lot . . . a whole lot."

J.J. Watt did not think about it or hesitate when asked about what he has left in the tank during his Arizona Cardinals introductory press conference on Tuesday. 

Watt will be 32 when the 2021 season starts, and he suffered through multiple serious injuries between 2016 and 2019. However, he was healthy for all 16 games in 2020. 

Later on Tuesday, he appeared on ESPN's Adam Schefter's podcast, where he was asked something similar. 

"I've got plenty (of gas left)," he said.

He then told a story of watching Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White as a kid. 

White signed with the Green Bay Packers, Watt's local team growing up in Wisconsin, in 1993, and made his debut when Watt was four years old. 

In six seasons with the Packers, White was a first-team All-Pro twice, won the Defensive Player of the Year and a Super Bowl ring in his final year. 

But, like Watt, White changed teams at the age of 32 after eight seasons spent with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Remembering White's success in the second stage of his career shows Watt a blueprint, that having success in the later years of a career is possible. 

"I only ever knew Reggie White from the age of 32 on and I've obviously seen him accomplish incredible things in his career," Watt said. "I know exactly how my body feels right now and the way my workouts are going and how everything is going. So, I'm very excited for the future."

Watt said he will help the Cardinals win on the field with sacks, tackles for loss, batted balls taking blockers off other players like edge rusher Chandler Jones and by "dominating."

Last year, he led the Texans with five sacks, 14 tackles for loss and seven pass deflections. It was a unit that struggled mightily, which meant that Watt received a lot of attention from opposing offensive lines. 

However, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim saw the 31-year-old continue to prove to be one of the game's premier defenders.

"As soon as he was officially released, the first thing I did was take a look at the tape," Keim said during a press conference on Wednesday. "I quickly realized that J.J. Watt still looked like J.J. Watt . . . Was still the dominant defender that I remember with his quickness, his burst, his ability to defend offensive tackles and guards, to line up at a multitude of spots. It's exciting to add a guy like that." 

White had a 13-sack season to start out his Packers career. That sets a high bar for Watt to follow, but the newest Cardinal has no lack of confidence in his ability to "dominate and help us win games."