‘Everything Slows Down 100 Percent’ Ahead of Original Third Season

‘Everything Slows Down 100 Percent’ Ahead of Original Third Season

After two up-and-down seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, linebacker Isaiah Simmons is settling into his role and ready for a big third campaign.

“Everything is 100 percent slowed down a lot,” Simmons said, via ESPN. “This year is more comfortable than last year, and I think the approach I’m taking has benefited me mentally.”

Part of the reason it took Simmons so long to get comfortable in the Cardinals’ defense was the need to play a boatload of positions. Simmons was charted at eight different positions last season, from linebacker to edge rusher to OLB to corner, according to NextGen Stats. The Cards used the previous No. 8 overall pick everywhere in 2021.

“Just being able to go everywhere has given me more knowledge, just conceptually, of our defense, which has been able to help me a lot,” he said. “I mean, it’s a leverage game, so it’s good to know what your help is, it’s been [great]”

Simmons will still move around the formation this season but is expected to find himself more often at inside linebacker, where he will run the defense alongside Javon Collins.

Slowing down the game for Simmons should put him in better positions to make plays. He netted 105 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2021.

In addition to becoming more poised after the snap, Simmons’ leadership role in Arizona is growing. That sometimes has to go after former Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt.

“We’re just scratching our heads, but I want JJ ​​to be better than he has been,” Simmons said. “Which, that’s saying a lot, especially for the Defensive Player of the Year. He’s my biggest critic, but he wants me to be the best I can be.

“So, if JJ tells me something I don’t want to hear, I think he’s going to want me to do the opposite. So, being able to get behind him knowing we can get behind each other. Same end goal.”

With the loss of Chandler Jones up front, the Cardinals are banking on the development of Simmons and Collins as they look to return to the postseason in 2022.

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