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Steve Keim: J.J. Watt 'Is Different In Every Way'

Cardinals GM also believes Kliff Kingsbury is Coach of the Year

The idea that J.J. Watt could still play in the playoffs will continue to be a story that has surprised many, and that includes Cardinals GM Steve Keim.

"To have that kind of injury setback, really disappointing for all of us, but not once did J.J. show signs of feeling sorry for himself," Keim said Friday during an appearance on the "Burns and Gambo" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. "In fact, now, I look at how fast he has healed, how hard he has worked , and the time I've been doing this, you look at your roster and there is 52 players and then there is J.J. Watt. He is different. And he is different in every way."

Keim said he isn't ruling out the chance that Watt could return for the Cardinals' first playoff game next week.

"I would not bet against J.J. Watt," Keim said. "What I have seen from him internally in the building, his work ethic, the things he has done out on the field, being able to stay in shape, his nutrition, his preparation, it's second to none. There is nobody that works like J.J. Watt. I've been around a lot of good players. He is a special guy in every aspect. I certainly think he has an opportunity here going forward."

How much Watt could do if he does play is TBD, Keim said, something to be figured out between the team medical staff and Watt. But he also acknowledged that Watt likely wouldn't want to be limited, and no matter how much he could play, he serves as a major disruptor for the middle of the Cardinals' defense.

-- The Watt news was the main part of the interview, but Keim also heaped praise on coach Kliff Kingsbury and said it has gotten lost how good of a job Kingsbury has done to forge an 11-5 record.

"In my opinion, not only has Kliff Kingsbury done a phenomenal job, I think he's the Coach of the Year," Keim said. "People say, 'Why?' Kliff Kingsbury won two of three games without his starting quarterback, with a number of players missing, and I know other teams miss players, but we won two games with Colt McCoy. And Colt played at a high level.

"I can't say enough good things about Kliff. I'm really happy with him and I know (owner) Michael (Bidwill) is happy with him as well."

GM Steve Keim talks with WR Christian Kirk before a preseason game in 2021

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