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Whether Attention On J.J. Watt Or Chandler Jones, Cardinals Benefit

Notes: Joseph explains limited snaps for Zaven Collins

Cardinals pass rushers Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt head out to the field before Sunday's game in Tennessee.
Cardinals pass rushers Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt head out to the field before Sunday's game in Tennessee.

As more of the attention from the offensive line of the Titans came to J.J. Watt, Chandler Jones continued to wreak havoc.

The Cardinals aren't exactly sure how the Vikings will try to protect quarterback Kirk Cousins this week. There will be film study, of course, but until the game starts, you obviously never know really how that's going to go," Watt said Thursday.

"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," Watt said with a chuckle, after Jones ended up with one-on-one blocks all day in Tennessee. "So sometimes you don't know the answers.

"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."

Watt didn't have the sexy stats in the opener, but defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said the veteran was disruptive, and helped Jones along the way.

"That's the way it should work," Joseph said. "They are picking their poison – you can either double Chan of double J.J.. You can't double both guys all the time."

While Jones was earning Defensive Player of the Week, Watt's muted numbers included a pair of tackles, one for loss, and a quarterback hit. But he was part of the wall that shut down running back Derrick Henry, and on one play actually ended up fighting three blockers.

"If I have to take them on and Chan gets five, that's fine by me," Watt said. "It doesn't matter to me who, how, where, as long as we get them we get them."

Jones said he didn't really go back to see how Watt had been handled, instead focusing on Vikings prep. But he said if Watt was drawing blockers, "it's great for me. Hopefully they do it a little bit more."


After so much talk about rookie Zaven Collins starting over Jordan Hicks at the Mike linebacker, both started. And it was Hicks who played almost the whole game (65 snaps, 95 percent) while Collins played much less (22).

Joseph said the game plan is going to change weekly. Happenstance sent Collins to the bench, not the rookie's play.

"We thought it was going to be a heavy, heavy run game, so Zaven was going to play a bunch of snaps," Joseph said. "Once we got a three- or -four score lead, it became a nickel game, so he lost probably 25 snaps."

Joseph said Collins did play well when he was in the game.


Safety Charles Washington (thigh) was back during practice Thursday on a limited basis, but tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) and linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring) both sat out for a second straight day.

For the Vikings, starting linebacker Eric Kendricks landed on the injury report for the first time as a DNP with a quadriceps injury, and defensive end Everson Griffin (concussion) was also a new add as a DNP. Cornerback Harrison Hand (hamstring) and linebacker Anthony Barr (knee) also sat out. Tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin) and linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle) were limited.