Losing starters due to injuries is a reality of life in the NFL — but Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell said losing a guy like three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Darnell Dockett during a preseason practice makes that reality even harder to swallow.
“It sucks,” Campbell said of Dockett’s ACL tear during Monday’s practice that will sideline him for the entire 2014 NFL season. “That’s the worst part of training camp, too, because this is just like a practice to get you ready for the regular season.
“So when stuff like that happens in practice, it sucks because he’s one of our better players and intense leaders, and for us to lose that, we need to overcompensate for that somewhere, and other guys have to step up.”
Eight-year NFL veteran Frostee Rucker, who recorded 11 tackles and one sack in limited action for the Cardinals last season, is a top candidate to fill in for Dockett. Campbell, who recorded nine sacks for the Cardinals in 2013, is anxious to see what Rucker can do.
“I’m really excited to see Frostee get more reps,” he said. “He was a role player for us last year, but now he has to step up due to injuries.
“He can be a good player for us. He has big shoes to fill, so I’m hoping he will.”
On the positive side, Campbell said he’s been impressed with rookie safety Deone Bucannon, who has had his ups and downs during training camp and is locked in a battle with Tony Jefferson for a starting spot.
“I really want to see what Deone Bucannon does in real game action,” Campbell said of the Cardinals’ 2014 first-round pick. “The preseason, it’s not real game action. It is, but when you go from the preseason to the regular season, it goes a little bit faster.
“But he has potential to be really, really good for us. He’s going through those growing pains like any rookie, but I’m really excited about him.”