Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Dockett, Rhodes and Cardinals' culture
By Mike Sando
When not providing regular updates about his own workouts or lauding a teammate for his, the Arizona Cardinals' Darnell Dockett was putting pressure on globetrotting teammate Kerry Rhodes.
Dockett made reference to the trips Rhodes has tweeted about, including one to the Bahamas, before delivering this jab: "I hope u getting ready to play some FOOTBALL cuz antrell rolle would be ready."
Dockett isn't the only one wondering whether the switch from Antrel Rolle to Rhodes will represent a drop not only in production but overall approach to the game.
As Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. put it earlier this offseason, "I liked Rolle a lot because everything was in front of him still. He has only been a free safety for a couple years now. He spends offseasons with Ed Reed and is very conscientious about becoming a great player. Rhodes is a finesse player and still an above-average starting safety who at times can look better than he is, but is not a banger, not an elite cover guy and it's going to be a little tougher to do things you want to do with Adrian Wilson. I would rather have Rolle."
The part about Rolle spending his offseasons chasing greatness with Reed came to mind after reading Dockett's comments. It's ridiculous to assume Rhodes isn't preparing sufficiently just because he mentioned a couple offseason trips. Plenty of conscientious NFL players take trips even during regular-season work weeks. There's nothing wrong with a player getting some rest and relaxation in the Bahamas before training camp.
It's also clear, however, that the Cardinals' strength-and-conditioning coach, John Lott, has established quite a culture in Arizona. Some of the team's best and most outspoken players, including Dockett, have embraced that culture. It's important for newcomers to embrace that culture and it's clear from Dockett's comments that Rhodes hasn't made an immediate positive impression along those lines.
Now we'll see what, if anything, Rhodes offers in return.