To many, the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 2 victory at New England might go down as the biggest upset this NFL season sees. The Cardinals were nearly a two-touchdown underdog in Las Vegas, but pulled off the stunner, 20-18, slowing down Tom Brady and a usually potent offense. The Cardinals are now 2-0 and, about as quietly as possible, have won nine of their last 11 dating back to last season. Perhaps that’s why defensive lineman Darnell Dockett wasn’t surprised that his team flew home a winner — though he was certainly in the minority. Darnell Dockett joined XTRA Sports 910 in Phoenix with Bickley and MJ to discuss how the victory is affecting the organization, getting pressure on Brady, the buy-in of this defense, if the expectation level is now raised for this team, why he wasn’t surprised by the victory and the play of quarterback Kevin Kolb.
It’s been a while since Cardinals fans have seen a win this big. How do you think it’s affected people?
“I don’t know how it affected the people, but I know how it affected our organization — just basically taking a step, going into the right direction. With 14 games to go in the regular season, we’re just trying to get better every week. I think everybody’s buying into it, with the owners, the GM, the guys that do the scouting, everything.”
How were you guys up front able to get to Tom Brady without blitzing?
“Hard work. Our defensive line coaches are hard on us. … Just not quitting and everything you’re doing, going full speed. They prepare us very well during the week. Sometimes we think they’re going to kill us, but we get a good reward on Sunday.”
Did you think getting to Brady was the difference in the game?
“It was. A lot of times you look at it and people think it’s all about getting sacks and things like that. This was a game where we were just able to get in his face, tip a couple balls, get in there and try to throw him off a little bit. We did that. It was something we worked on all week and we executed well on Sunday. I think that’s the best part about it, is when you have a gameplan and you stick to it and you work hard during the week and you see it develop on Sunday.”
On the buy-in on defense and that no individual is worried about stats:
“Everybody has a job to do. We discuss it every week, that someone’s job is going to be harder than another. … I think everybody’s just like, ‘OK, cool.’ We’re all buying into it. Nobody’s worrying about numbers; we’re just trying to get wins as a team. … There’s nothing like being ranked among the top defenses. … You don’t see numbers and names behind it. It says Arizona Cardinals. That means that you’re playing well together and that’s what it’s all about.”
Have people underestimated this team? Is it time to look at this team as having a bigger ceiling?
“That’s always our goal. I think that should be everyone’s goal in the NFL, to try to get better and get in the playoffs. If you’re not trying to get in the playoffs, I honestly don’t know why you’re playing. I know all of the guys in there, we want to get in the playoffs. … We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, but it’s one of those things where you’ve just got to go out there and work hard.”
What was the plane ride home like?
“The crazy thing about it is a lot of us wasn’t surprised. We wasn’t surprised we won the game. We came out and executed our gameplan and worked hard at it. We’re outside and we’re grinding on Fridays and we’re power cleaning on Tuesdays and we’re squatting on Mondays — 300, 400, 500 pounds. We’re putting the work in, so for us to go out and win a ballgame on the road against New England, who we feel we’re more physical than and that we feel we’re more talented than, but the worry was, can they outsmart us? … That’s the attitude you have to have going into a game. Don’t be surprised, just go out there and leave it all on the field.”
What do you make of Kevin Kolb and the quarterback situation?
“He’s showing all the things that our organization saw in him when they made the trade to get him. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder and I love it. There’s nothing better than seeing a guy that’s passing adversity. … I honestly believe he’s not doing it for a lot of people, he’s doing it for the people that’s in the locker room and the organization. I’ve talked to him a few times and he just says, ‘I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.’ And that’s all you can expect from a guy. I’ve never been hard on a quarterback anyway, because I know at some point in time, you’re going to need your second- or third-team quarterback to come in.”