When the Arizona Cardinals made their big splash before free agency signing J.J. Watt, the excitement was real.
Of course, there was the other side... Why the Cardinals?
Was this another instance of a veteran star looking to cash in one more time taking advantage of the Arizona Cardinals?
Then, Watt tweaked a hamstring during the run test and missed the entire open part of the training camp and well people started to murmur a little more.
The reality is, and the Cardinals will never admit this, they didn’t want people seeing what they did with Watt.
After that they started to discuss snap count limitations and it just seemed weird.
Then they deployed Watt in game one and since that moment we should have understood we were being played.
Outside of that, Watt is playing more than any non-back seven player by quite a bit. He is also playing at an incredibly high level on a defense that is second in the NFL in points allowed, third in turnovers forced and maybe the most important thing for a team that has a lot of veterans and a lot of young players mixed, they are sixth in average drive time.
The defense does not have to be on the field a ton, but when they are on the field they do a great job of getting off the field without giving up points.
Outside of game two where they looked lost against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half, then gave up only a field goal in the second half, this team has done the following:
20 points against the LA Rams (6th in scoring at 29.8 ppg)
14 points against the Browns (9th in scoring at 26 ppg)
13 points against the Titans (8th in scoring at 26.4 PPG)
10 points against the 49ers (17 in scoring at 23.4ppg)
Only the Jaguars were able to achieve their season average against the Cardinals at 19 points and we know seven of those came via the kick-six.
No, what Watt and the defense has done is impressive.
They are giving up 18.2 points per game, which is better than any defense since moving to the desert and with the second ranked scoring defense they are the best Cardinals defense since 1956.
Now, there are 11 games left and they have to finish things off, but through six weeks it seems like the J.J. Watt deal was a steal.