I love disruptive defensive tackles. Love, love, love disruptive defensive tackles. I think a good disruptive defensive tackle is the foundation of a great defense. Albert Haynesworth. Tommie Harris. Warren Sapp. Mean. Joe. Green. Give me Green and I'll find linebackers.
Arizona's defense isn't great, but it has aspirations. It's average distance allowed per drive is 27.88, 13th in the league. And though the secondary is still spotty, the front seven has become a hard nosed bunch of maulers reflective of Ken Whisenhunt's attitude. They're hitters, who gets sacks, take penalties and force and recover fumbles. Arizona's front seven is the kind of good, bad and hustle lucky buncha no-name scrappers that every obnoxious, "get a pair", "I was there" armchair Dick Butkus falls in love with.
The best player in the front seven is defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. If Rod Graves wanted to write the Graves Guide to Drafting, chapter one would be entitled: Draft Big, Toolsy Defensive Linemen with Questionable Work Ethics from Florida or Michigan. Graves not being known for his literary skill or concision. Among the four examples, Gabe Watson, Alan Branch, Calais Campbell and Dockett, Dockett is the success story. Of course, given the play of Campbell, the contributions of Watson and the potential of Branch, Dockett might just be the first in a line of too cheap for their talent picks made good.
In two games last season, Dockett made a mess of Seattle's guards. Playing mostly against Chris Gray, Dockett played the part of the comet hurtling into Gray's cheesecloth. The anvil straining against Gray's polygrip. The Wilford Brimley sagging atop Gray's horse. Seattle avoided a resounding snap by fortune alone.
Rob Sims wasn't so lucky. In the span of three plays, Dockett shamed Sims, putting the kind of spanking on him Shrug pays good coin for and a torn pectoral would do wonders to explain.
Sunday, Seattle will counter Dockett with either Floyd Womack or Ray Willis and to a lesser extent Mike Wahle. Wahle doesn't do well against athletic pass rushers with quick first steps, so when the two start staring eash other down preceding their coming standoff, pray Wahle gets a body on him before he blows through to the ball-carrier. Between Womack and Willis, Womack is the assignment correct schlub who can't maintain a block and almost never does anything exciting. Willis the colossal athlete that has real potential but scores poorly in Holmgren's too simple system. That is, Womack will kill you with talent while Willis will kill you with mistakes. Like last year, Seattle doesn't have a good answer for Dockett and like last year, their best bet is win the matchups around him and hope his is not decisive.