Spit spat aftermath: Still much confusion

TEMPE, Ariz. – Maybe somebody should roll out Herman Edwards’ infamous postgame press conference for Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.

“You play to win the game! Hello?! You play to win the game!”

Give Dockett credit for facing the media on Wednesday, as a team captain should do. Give Dockett credit for apologizing to teammate Kerry Rhodes for an altercation of which details are still unclear following Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets.

Yet, in spite of those stand-up acts, Dockett still didn’t seem to grasp the point of what Rhodes was trying to tell him – or the coaching staff, for that matter. Neither Dockett, Rhodes nor coach Ken Whisenhunt would discuss exactly what happened or why it happened, but it was clear in Dockett’s interview that he was upset the Cardinals were trying to let the Jets score late to take a 14-6 lead so that Arizona could get the ball back and have a chance, albeit slim, to win the game.

“Me and Kerry had a very heated argument at a very heatful time in the game,” Dockett said. “I apologized to Kerry, Kerry forgave me, and that’s it.

“It was a situation that we totally didn’t agree on. At the end of the day we did what was best for the team to give our team the best chance to win the game.”

And that was the point in a nutshell. New York was smart and made certain not to get into the end zone. The Jets ran out the clock. But the only way, repeat, the only way the Cardinals had a chance to win was if they let the Jets score and got the ball back.

“It’s just something that I don’t believe in,” Dockett said. “I didn’t understand. It was frustrating at the time.

“At the end of the day, I am never ever going to lay down and quit. I’ve been playing football for over 20 years. I’ve given this organization, I’ve given Florida State and my high school everything I’ve got. I love the game. I play with passion, and I’ll never quit.”

Passion and heart are great. Playing with intelligence is also necessary, and that’s what Rhodes and the staff were trying to do. As for whether Dockett will face disciplinary action for the altercation, Whisenhunt would not say.

“We’re moving on,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s an in-house matter. We’ve handled it in-house. We’re going to move forth. We’re not going to discuss an in-house situation.”

Rhodes did not speak to the media on Wednesday, but on Tuesday, he released a statement emphatically denying that Dockett spit on him, as was reported.

“We’re both moving on and I’ll leave it at that,” Rhodes said.