After his lackluster Week 1 performance (one tackle) in a 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett received a simple and direct challenge from veteran D-line coach Ron Aiken.
Be the best in the league at your position.
The 32-year-old might be getting up there in age, but he certainly found a way to turn back the clock and answer the call Sunday in New Orleans.
Playing without nose tackle Dan Williams, who missed the game following the death of his father, Dockett picked up the slack in a big way and was more or less the team’s lone bright spot in a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.
While New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns, the three-time Pro Bowler managed to tie his career-high with three sacks — 1.5 more than he had all of last season.
“I was motivated by my defensive line coach from the first game, and I practiced this week with a chip on my shoulder,” Dockett said. “I just tried to get back to the old Dockett.”
The 10-year veteran definitely looked a lot like his former self, manhandling undrafted free agent guard Tom Lelito en route to his first multi-sack game since 2010.
Apparently, though, leading up to Sunday’s game, Dockett wasn’t only being issued challenges from his coaching staff.
“I took a big challenge this week,” said Dockett. “I heard from a few Saints players that they were going to rush the ball at me and saying I was getting up there in age.
“I just go out there and play though, I don’t care what anyone is saying and all that. The focus is not on me. I couldn’t do it without my teammates. I’m very thankful that they gave me time to get back there.”
Although Dockett was individually as dominant as he’s been in quite some time, the former Florida State standout said at the end of the day none of the numbers really matter all that much when the final result is a 24-point rout.
“We came here to win and fell short,” said Dockett. “That’s all I really care about. At this point, it’s about wins and losses. And, we lost. I don’t really care about what I did in the game, it’s really pointless when you go home and you’re losing.”