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Accounting for Watt or Jones: 'Pick Your Poison'

Opposing offensive lines will have a difficult time trying to figure out who to double team on each possession.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt is the epitome of a leader. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner brings a dynamic previously missing to Arizona's locker room, even moreso in the absence of receiver Larry Fitzgerald. 

He's also a damn good football player. 

After months of hypothetical scenarios and dreams from Cardinals fans of what a defensive front seven would look like with Watt teaming up with outside linebacker Chandler Jones, those visions came to fruition in Arizona's season opening 38-13 victory on the road against the Tennessee Titans. 

While Jones stole the spotlight with five sacks and four tackles for loss, Watt's impact can't be overlooked either, especially in his first taste of action with his new club. His two tackles may look bare on the stat sheet, yet the consistent pressure Watt provided along with the double-teams to free Jones up for one-on-one scenarios was invaluable. 

Watt says he doesn't mind if he gets double-teamed each play, as long as Jones continues to find the quarterback with ease. 

"If I got to take them all and Chan gets five (sacks), that's great by me. It doesn't matter to me who, how, where. As long as we get them, we get them," Watt said this week. 

"We've been excited about it since the moment it started. I think you already know but you saw again, what Chandler Jones is capable of. He's an unbelievable player. He's incredible, he can do so many things (and uses his) speed and power. (Jones) has so many moves and is constantly studying and working his craft. When you're able to combine with a guy like that, and put both of the forces together, it's a lot of fun."

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph feels the same way. 

"He (Watt) was disruptive. He took some blockers on and he was being chipped from inside positions. He was being doubled a lot which actually freed Chan up some. That's the way it should work when you have a guy like J.J. and Chan," said Joseph. 

"They're picking their poison. I mean you can double Chan or double J.J., you can't double both guys all the time. So (in that game) he got some double teams and Chan got more one-on-ones."

When Watt was asked if he generally has a feeling from watching film on what teams will do, he pointed out the fairly obvious: Prepare for everything, be surprised by nothing. 

"You generally would think that after a guy gets three sacks in the first quarter, you're going to chip him or double-team him, but I guess not," said Watt on Jones' outstanding performance. 

"However, it plays out during the game, that's why one of the best things we are good at here is communicating on the sidelines and making sure everybody is talking."

While Jones brought home NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his Week 1 performance, Watt may find himself in the running for that award, assuming the Vikings don't leave Jones in dangerous positions throughout the game on Sunday. 

However it plays out, the Cardinals are simply happy to live in opposing backfields no matter the cost. That's a luxury Arizona, its players and the fan base could have only hoped for when Watt first arrived.