Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The defense has been playing so well that it is hard to think that the players might want to do the play differenty.
So it has come out that near the end of the game against the New York Jets, safety Kerry Rhodes wanted to allow the Jets to score on their last possession, giving the offense the ball down eight points. Darnell Dockett did not like the idea and spat in the face of Rhodes. There is likely discipline coming for Dockett for that.
Now, after eight straight losses, this sort of behavior -- that is, the irritation and perhaps the act of spitting -- is almost expected. What was the surprise was that it was not an altercation between Dockett or another defensive player going after someone on offense for not doing their job.
The defense as a unit has been fantastic. The offense as a unit has been awful. It would be perfectly normal to feel like your efforts are being wasted.
"That's human nature thing, sure," Rhodes said. "But we have invested so much into this year to do what we can do and try and be the best we can. The offense is doing that and we are doing that as well. We're not perfect on the defensive side of the ball. Until we have a perfect game, until we shut someone out and they have zero yards, then we can't say anything."
This is why the whole Dockett/Rhodes thing is so weird. Why would there be something like this between defensive teammates?
I understand that Dockett has pride in wanting to keep the Jets from scoring. That is a defensive player's mentality. But to spit in the face of a teammate that is suggesting something that is a strategic positive, that is weird. The two players did not seem out of sorts after the game, but the fact that this happened gives you reason to believe that this is not the only time that there has been something go on between them.
Is a "fight" surprising on a 4-8 team? Nope, not at all.
Would it be surprising if the defense were playing badly? Nope. That would make a lot of sense -- get in the face of a teammate that blew an assignment. But that wasn't what was going on. The defense was playing superbly and there was just a disagreement that apparently escalated quickly.
Should this have happened between two team leaders? No.
Does the incident even mean anything? Perhaps.
I think it is clear that Dockett and Rhodes have had their issues in the past.
I think that this is also not a very good sign for Coach Whisenhunt. With mounting losses, bad quarterback play and team divisiveness, that would be a recipe for losing his job.