Although it’s not a given, we hear Darnell Dockett probably will be back wreaking havoc from his customary DLE spot this Thursday night against the Rams for a Cardinals defense that definitely missed his presence in Arizona’s overtime victory over the Dolphins.
With Dockett on the sideline with a hamstring injury Sunday — only the second time in his nine-year career he has missed a game — Miami’s offense exploded to the tune of 480 total yards, gaining 6.5 yards per play against a unit under the direction of Ray Horton that had been uniformly excellent in the first three games.
“I actually think they kept him (Dockett) out on Sunday so that he would be more ready for Thursday night,” one team insider said. “He really has to be hurting to miss a game. I actually think there were bigger problems than him being out. Miami switching to a no-huddle offense really caused a lot of miscommunication.”
However, there’s no denying the Cardinals are far better off with Dockett, who had gotten off to a really good start in the first three games.
“Nobody is more explosive in his first couple of steps,” the insider said. “He’s known for making a couple of big plays per game, and that’s exactly what he was doing.”
It’s worth noting how long it actually took for Dockett to accept a more read-and-react role in Horton’s “Steelers West” system.
“He was the last guy to buy in,” the insider said. “He had so much success as a one-gap penetrator that it was difficult for him to adjust to a prototypical 3-4 defensive-end role. But three-quarters into last season, he fully adjusted to the change, and the double coverage he usually demands just helps a ton.”
- Darnell Dockett