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Cards OTAs: A Disgusting Amount of Fun

NFL: JUN 02 Cardinals OTA Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No wonder why the Arizona Cardinals haven’t signed a big name TE this off-season. Yesterday, with the start of the Cardinals OTAs, J.J. Watt was doing his version of George Kittle, and, of course, was already commanding double teams —- in this case from CBs Malcolm Butler and Byron Murphy.

How dare the Cardinals have this much fun on their first day of OTAs?

At the center of it all, J.J. Watt put the day’s vibe in perspective:

Here is a portion of J.J. Watt’s post-practice remarks to Cardinals’ beat writer Kyle Odegard:

“Obviously we had the virtual meetings earlier in the offseason, but now to be in person, back on the field, it’s fun.”

“It’s a blast. This is why you play the game. It’s the relationships. It’s the locker room. It’s the guys. I love it”

“We have a great group here and it seems like everybody knows how to work hard when it’s time to work, and knows how to have fun at the same time.”

“I enjoyed it. It’s kind of like that first day of school. Getting back out there yesterday and today on the field was really nice.”

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J.J. Watt has been setting the tone for the 2021 Cardinals ever since he signed his two year contract.

Message to the NFL: We Cardinals are a band of brothers who are getting after it and having a heckuva lot fun doing it.

You might recall, J.J. Watt whole-heartedly believes that playing in the NFL is “a privilege” —- therefore, the tone that Watt set on the first day of OTAs was in the genuine spirit of honoring and enjoying the privilege of playing the game that he and his teammates love.

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If you clicked on For Football Talk’s tweet above, then you might have feasted your eyes on Mike Florio’s and Chris Simms’ list of the Top 10 of Non-QBs in the NFC West.

PFT’s Top 10 picks are as follows:

  1. LA —- DT Aaron Donald
  2. SF —- T Trent Williams
  3. SF —- LB Fred Warner
  4. AZ —- T D.J. Humphries
  5. SEA —- T Duane Brown
  6. AZ —- WR DeAndre Hopkins
  7. LA —- T Andrew Whitworth
  8. AZ —- DE J.J. Watt
  9. SEA —- LB Bobby Wagner
  10. SF —- TE George Kittle
  • Great to see D.J. Humphries start to get some high props.
  • 49ers and Cardinals with 3 each, Rams and Seahawks with 2.
  • DeAndre Hopkins is the only WR.
  • J.J. Watt is the only DE.

Notable Omissions:

  • SF: DE Nick Bosa, DE Arik Armstead
  • SEA: WR D.K. Metcalf, S Jamal Adams
  • LA: CB Jalen Ramsey, WR Robert Woods
  • AZ: C Rodney Hudson, S Budda Baker

Commentary:

I know I keep saying this and I understand the years of frustration with regard to the Cardinals’ front office, but, this Top 10 Non-QB NFC West List reflects very positively on GM Steve Keim who maintained an ardent belief in T D.J. Humphries, traded for WR DeAndre Hopkins and made DE J.J. Watt his priority UFA signing of 2021. And seeing as this is a non-QB list, let’s not ignore what Steve Keim did to address the Cardinals’ QB position. Plus, I don't think there is any question that the next OL on the NFC West list is C Rodney Hudson, with S Budda Baker also highly deserving of being in the company of the top 10.

At the end of the 2018 season, if someone had told us Cardinals’ fans that two years later the PFT crew would identify 3 Cardinals as top 8 non-QB players in the NFC West (arguably the most competitive division in the NFL), it would have been impossible to believe.

Quote of the Day:

“There is a bird on this body tree that dances in the ecstasy of life.” Kabir Das

Personal Anecdote:

Many moons ago at Foxboro High School I was asked to be the first teacher to teach AP English Language and Composition. A colleague of mine told me that she overheard the administrators at the school saying that they didn't think I was suited to teach the course, but they didn’t have any better options.

AP English Language and Composition is a course in rhetoric (the art of persuasive writing) and thus I spent the summer learning just about everything I could as to how to teach rhetoric. I will never forget the lovely summer afternoon on Long Beach Island when I started picking the brains of my sister and brother-in-law (both professors at the University of Chicago) as to how they teach rhetoric to their undergrad and graduate students.

On the white sands of the Jersey shore on a glorious summer’s day, I first learned that the Greek word for “speaker” is “Rhetor” and that masterful speakers understand how to whet their audience’s senses of logos (reason), ethos (credibility) and pathos (emotion).

I knew immediately that I had discovered a treasure trove that would improve the way I would teach reading and writing for the next couple of decades.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was on the first day of classes to watch a number of the top scholars in the junior class walk into my classroom.

And just as the last student nodded at me while I was greeting him out in the hallway, one of the administrators came out of nowhere and whooshed me into an adjacent alcove where she got right upon my face and said, “Now you go in there and tell these kids that this course requires hours and hours of homework each night and that they had better be eager to work their tails off, that is, if they are ver going to have an inkling of a chance to earn a decent score on the AP Exam. Go and tell them that if they are unsure as to whether they want to be in a demanding class like this, then they should go right down to their guidance counselor and get switched out of the class. Now go on —- make sure you tell them good. Make sure you scare the bejeeze out of them.”

Thus, I walked into the class, quietly closed the door and said, “Congratulations for signing up to take the first ever course of AP English Language and Composition at Foxboro High School. Obviously, this is my first time teaching the course, so, I tell you what, why don't we roll up our sleeves and have a heckuva lot of fun learning the rules and the creative applications of rhetoric. And if we do a good enough job of it, come early May, you are apt to like your chances of earning college level scores on the AP Exam. So whaddaya say? Are you ready to get started?”

After the students uttered a collective “hell yeah”, I asked, “How would you define the term rhetoric?” “Go ahead, open your notebooks and write you answer down.” “Now share your answer with the student sitting next to you.” “Any one have an answer that you would like to share with the class?”

One of the students raised her hand and asked, “Isn’t rhetoric a form of propaganda?”

“Please explain what you mean,” I replied, already feeling the sense that boy-oh-boy this class is going to be special.

A few hours later the administrator swung by my room and asked, “So did you give ‘em hell?”

“Yeah, I had every one of them shaking in their Uggs,” I said.