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Losing Darnell Dockett for the Season a Huge Setback for Arizona Cardinals

August 20th, 2014 at 6:49 AM
By Steve Smith

So now where do the Arizona Cardinals go from here after losing defensive lineman Darnell Dockett for the 2014 NFL season with a torn ACL?

That's the questions all Cardinals fans want to have answered.

There is no other way to put it – losing Dockett is a tremendous blow to the Red Birds. Not only was he a productive player in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' 3-4 scheme but he was one of the emotional leaders of the team.

Now that Karlos Dansby is with the Cleveland Browns and Daryl Washington is suspended for the entire 2014 season, the Red Birds defense has some major holes to fill.

"He's a great player, a guy we count on day in and day out to be a leader and take us where we want to go," Calais Campbell told espn.com. "… Hopefully he'll come back soon."

Not until next year. For now, other Cardinals will have to step up. Second-year linebacker Kevin Minter took one snap last season and former Steeler Larry Foote is now 34 years old. Rookie Kareem Martin is most likely going to take Dockett's spot in the 3-4 alignment.

The Red Birds will need another Pro Bowl season from John Abraham and that might be easier said than done. Abraham, the NFL's active sack leader, registered 11.5 sacks last season but he's 36 years old now and could be suspended for his June DUI arrest.

Arizona had 47 sacks last season, tied for sixth in the league. With Dansby, Washington and now Dockett all gone, that total will be hard to match in 2014.

Dockett has been a very durable player until now. He has missed just two games in his 10-year career — both for injuries. He played in his first 104 games before a shoulder injury sidelined him in Week 9 of the 2010 season. He missed Week 4 in 2012 due to a hamstring injury.

The FSU product is a three-time Pro Bowler who shares the Super Bowl sack record with Reggie White. He's coming off his best season — 59 tackles and 4.5 sacks – in about five years.

The Cardinals did receive some good news yesterday when safety Tyrann Mathieu was taken off the PUP list. Whether he can play in the season opener against San Diego remains to be seen.

The Red Birds needed some good news after losing Dockett.

He'll be hard to replace.

Also,

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Football, Kareem Martin, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, Larry Foote, NFL

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