34 combined tackles and 1.5 sacks are numbers that you think would come from a backup defensive lineman. However, those were Darnell Dockett’s numbers this past season, his lowest since his second year in the league. Many fans who don’t watch Arizona Cardinals’ football games would say why in the world is someone who’s getting paid a lot of money producing so little, but what they don’t know is that his job the past two years wasn’t to attack the quarterback.
Instead, Dockett’s job was to open up lanes for Daryl Washington and Paris Lenon.
Dockett humbled himself for two years playing in Ray Horton’s system that he “hated.” You never heard a word from him he just did his job day in and day out. Now Dockett is excited to get back to his old aggressive ways under Todd Bowles system allowing him to get those one on one match ups against offensive lineman.
We know how disruptive Dockett can be, and we saw it in the playoffs in 2008 when he caused a huge fumble against the Falcons in his first playoff game ever. Then, he did that a week later, shutting down the two headed monster in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Calais Campbell had a way better year with 63 combined tackles and six and a half sacks. Those numbers are good, but for Campbell’s talent they are average. Campbell is a guy who can reach double digit sacks if unleashed. The Cardinals’ defensive line is loaded with talent, and they will get to showcase their full potential in Bowles’ system.
If these two can cause havoc all year long with out the help of added rushers it will be pick city in the Arizona Cardinals secondary. The less rushers you have the more people in coverage which is needed with so many teams having two receivers and two tight ends going out for passes. Dockett and Campbell want to attack the quarterback and now they will get their wish. With great power comes great responsibility.
I expect Darnell Dockett to finish around eight sacks this season. It might be a little higher or maybe a little lower, but the man is starving for some quarterbacks.
Coach Ray Horton had him on a no quarterback diet which was really frustrating to him, but that is now changed and coach Bowles turned it into a all you can eat buffet. Calais Campbell will have a Pro Bowl year and double his sack total. It’s time for him to jump into the next level and be a unstoppable force.