TEMPE, Ariz. — Darnell Dockett was asked for his thoughts on Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
“He’s very consistent, he knows what he wants,” Dockett said. “His language is very consistent.”
The 32-year-old in his 10th season went on to say the first-year coach is a “good guy.”
“He’s just straight forward and not about playing games — he’s going to be honest with you,” he said. “He’s going to tell you when you’re not doing it, going to put somebody else in there if you’re not doing it right.”
A defensive captain, Dockett added that Arians does not play favorites, which is what he was used to in college and a style he appreciates.
“It’s one of those things where you’re thankful you’ve got a coach like that will just tell you, not try to sweep everything under the rug, and just bring it out, just making sure our team is accountable and making sure our leaders lead and our players play.”
Was Dockett taking a not-so-subtle shot at former coach Ken Whisenhunt, whom he openly feuded with toward the tail end of last season? Perhaps, but his comments echoed those of many of his teammates when they were asked about Arians.
One offseason and eight games into his tenure most see the coach as a straight shooter, for better or worse.
“That’s kind of how I’ve always tried to approach it,” Arians said. “Honesty is the best way to approach a player.
“He might not like what you’re going to tell him, but it’s the truth. Players can see through bull (expletive) and I’m not that kind of guy.”
There’s that language Dockett was talking about.
Granted, everyone loves a coach when the team is winning, and thus far Arians has done enough to maintain the belief that his plan, his style will work in the desert. Sunday’s win over the Falcons helped, as it was the first game this season where the offense — Arians’ forte — played like people hoped it would.
“Oh there’s no doubt,” Arians said when asked if the victory helped validate what he’s trying to do. “When you preach team, and your defense is playing extremely well, it’s time for the other phases. Our defense and special teams have done really well, and now it’s time for offense to continually grow so it is a team effort.”
A 4-4 start to the season has certainly bought the reigning Coach of the Year some time, and his style has helped bring out the best in some of the team’s younger players. Receiver Michael Floyd, for instance, credits Arians for his development.
“He put a lot of confidence in me and that motivated me to be a better player,” he said. “He wants the best out of me and I want the best out of myself also, so just having that confidence in your head coach is a tremendous deal.”
And the colorful language Arians is known for?
“That’s just a coach trying to get you better, knows he can see more potential in you,” the second-year pro said.
Of course, there have been some questionable decisions and comments, but ultimately a coach is judged on wins and losses, and right now Arians is doing OK there. Arians said compared to last season, when he guided the Indianapolis Colts while head coach Chuck Pagano was out battling cancer, running the Cardinals has been a piece of cake.
“Last year was so surreal and every day was a dramatic day with a lot of things that went on,” he said. “This is football. This is easy.
“There’s no one’s health at risk, a dear friend and a very young team that was trying to do something special. This is a veteran team — with a lot of young guys who are starting to step up — also trying to do something special.”