TEMPE, Ariz. — “Anything less than the playoffs is a failure.”
Speaking after one of the team’s voluntary workouts Thursday, Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett pretty much laid it all out on the line.
“That’s the honest truth; that’s not saying that we’re the best team in the NFL and that’s definitely not saying we’re the worst team,” he added. “But anything less than the playoffs right now, at this point with this team, is a failure.”
For a team that has not been to the postseason since 2010, that may seem like a pretty bold and reckless proclamation. However, given that the Cardinals are coming off a 10-6 season that saw them knock off the eventual Super Bowl Champion Seahawks in their own building, big things are expected in 2014.
But with the first regular season game still months away, all the Cardinals can do now is get their offseason work in.
“This is where you win your championship at,” Dockett said. “In a couple weeks we’ll get 20, 30 more guys in from the draft and free agents, but right now the foundation of this team is in the locker room and we have a long way to go.
“Each and every day we have to capitalize and don’t take it for granted.”
Dockett said he tells his teammates the goal is to get better at something every day, be it conditioning, strength or learning in the classroom.
The veteran sounds like a leader who “gets it.”
Now entering his 11th NFL season, Dockett said he understands the value in being around his teammates this time of year. While attendance at these workouts is not mandatory, it’s viewed as a good idea. Earlier in his career, Dockett would workout away from the team back home in Florida.
“And we lost. It was 3-13, it was 6-10, it was 3-13 again. I realized that over the years you have to bond with your guys over the offseason — it’s very important,” he said. “We’ve got a few guys that aren’t here that I’m texting them every day; and I don’t care what they say to me, I’m going to literally just blow their text messages up like, ‘We need you here. We need you here; we’re trying to do something important here. The schedule came out, we need you here. OK, you’re not going to be here the first week we expect you to be here Monday.'”