Around the NFC West: Dec. 4, 2012
The Arizona Cardinals have enough problems without one defensive starter, Darnell Dockett, reportedly spitting on another defensive starter, Kerry Rhodes, during the final moments of a 7-6 defeat to the New York Jets.
Stress is surely high in Arizona following eight consecutive defeats. However, spitting in a teammate's face is not the sort of thing that just happens between veterans disagreeing over whether to purposely allow a touchdown, as the reports suggest. It's born of disrespect.
Two years ago, Dockett suggested Rhodes should spend less time vacationing and more time preparing. Dockett was frustrated at the time after the team lost safety Antrel Rolle in free agency. Still, why take it out on a new teammate? It wasn't Rhodes' fault the Cardinals signed him to replace Rolle.
Dockett would not be the first person to disrespect Rhodes. Rhodes' former coach, Rex Ryan, called the safety selfish. Rhodes' former Jets teammate, Kris Jenkins, made disrespectful comments potentially aimed at Rhodes.
All of this is rising to the surface after Rhodes played one of his finest games. He picked off two passes, had three passes defensed and forced a fumble for the Cardinals against the Jets.
I went back and re-watched the game's final minutes to see whether Dockett and Rhodes could be seen feuding. There was nothing visible on the broadcast. Perhaps Dockett, Rhodes and coach Ken Whisenhunt will address the matter in greater detail when the team reconvenes for practice and media availability Wednesday. Whisenhunt didn't want to talk about it Monday.