As the Cardinals prepared for Sunday's season-opener against the Chiefs on Wednesday, they did so without pass rusher J.J. Watt, who is currently day-to-day with a calf injury. Watt's practice status will be something to monitor throughout the week leading up to Sunday's 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. 

Watt did not play in the Cardinals' final two preseason games after testing positive for COVID-19. Last season, his first with the Cardinals after spending the first decade of his career with the Texans, Watt helped Arizona get off to a 7-0 start last season before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury. Without Watt, the Cardinals finished the year with an 11-6 record before being ousted by the Super Bowl champion Rams in the NFC wild card round. 

Michael Dogbe is slated to start in place of Watt if the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is not able to suit up against the Chiefs. A seventh-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Dogbe has just one career start under his belt. He has 33 tackles and two sacks to his credit in 27 career regular-season games. 

While he is undeniably one of the best defensive players of his era, injuries have prevented Watt from further adding to his impressive career sack tally (which currently stands at 102) during the second half of his career. Only twice since 2016 has Watt played in more than eight games during a season. One of those seasons, 2018, saw Watt earn his fifth All-Pro nod after recording 16 sacks and a league-best seven forced fumbles. 

The Cardinals will need all hands on deck for Sunday's game against the Chiefs, who boast one of the NFL's best offenses, led by Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. Arizona's defense ranked 11th last season in points allowed, seventh in passing yards allowed, and 10th in third-down efficiency. They struggled in the red zone, however, as they were 20th in the league in preventing teams from scoring inside their own 20-yard-line.