Friday, February 8, 2013
Dockett's role in Bowles' D
By Tim Kavanagh
With a change in defensive coordinator for 2013, there has been some speculation as to how the Arizona Cardinals would be running their defensive system: would they stick with a 3-4, as former DC Ray Horton had run, or switch to a 4-3?
While new DC Todd Bowles has indicated he's going to retain the 3-4 alignment in general, it's not going to be the same exact system as was in place under his predecessor. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic speculates that one key change will be that DE Darnell Dockett will no longer be hampered by playing with two-gap responsibilities. Instead, as with Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt, Dockett can focus on getting upfield and disrupting things for opposing QBs and RBs. Part of the task for Bowles and HC Bruce Arians may be psychological, as well.
"With Dockett, the key thing might not be how the Cardinals play him, but convincing him that they are playing to his strengths," Somers writes. "Dockett didn't complain publicly too much about how he was used the last two years. It would have come across as selfish anyway, because the defense was improving. But Dockett never believed Horton's defense played to his strengths. Bowles' challenge, and Arians', is to convince Dockett that times have changed. Dockett's a different player when he has bought into the system. Dockett faces a challenge, too. He will be 32 in May. He's probably seen his last big contract. He needs to make this work if he's going to get back to Pro Bowl level."
Here's ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando with more:
Mike SandoThere will be some tweaks to how this is run
"Dockett presumably will not be a two-gapping defensive end. He'll be freed up to chase after quarterbacks and disrupt the running game. Not that Bowles is likely to build his defense around Dockett. Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington and Patrick Peterson are arguably the best defensive players on the roster. Dockett will be looking for a career revival at age 31. The Cardinals' new scheme should help him in that regard."