SANTA CLARA – Darnell Dockett spoke in the 49ers’ auditorium Monday afternoon. Here are selected quotes.
Q: It seems like Jim Tomsula is intent on resting the veterans as much as possible during training camp. Have you been battling him to get out there?
DOCKETT: I’ve had some words with him, but he’s a good guy and he’s obviously been doing this longer than I have. And I’ve been doing it a long time. He’s one of those guys that wants to make sure we have all of our weapons come September. I respect that about a guy. You don’t win games the first week of training camp, or the second week. Guys that have been in the league a long time that are proven and we know what they can do, we want to keep a lot of those guys ready for the first game of the season. I get it. I’m anxious to be out there. They know it. It’s a process and I respect it.
Q: Are you fine starting in the Nickel?
DOCKETT: I’m fine starting anywhere. Kicker. Punter Holder. Don’t matter. I just want to play football. When you miss football a whole year, and you have an opportunity to be in the playoffs with your old team and you lose…at this point in my career I’m in a good organization’s hands. I want to do everything I possibly can to put this team back on the top of the map. I want to be a part of it. I want to make sure that we have an opportunity to be in the playoffs when everyone thinks we don’t have a chance.
Q: Have you seen coaches who have come in and tried to wear you into the ground as quickly as possible?
DOCKETT: Yeah, every one of them. Every one of them. I’ve played with Denny Green, so that speaks for itself. I give him a lot of credit for drafting me and giving me an opportunity, but there have been times with him when I was like, “I don’t want to play football no more.” You know what’s crazy – I’m able to tell these guys here how different the game has changed from when I first came in the league. We should definitely be appreciative and really go out here and work harder to try and better our game, because when I first came in everything was pads, pads, pads. They didn’t care about you. You were very disposable. Now they’re actually caring about players now. The game is changing. I tell a lot of guys, “You couldn’t play back when I first came in the league.” I’m always picking on them.
Q: Are there similarities between Arik Armstead and your former teammate Calais Campbell?
DOCKETT: Yeah, it’s a lot. Me and Calais fought every day, though. That was really like my little brother. I watched him grow into his own and develop a work ethic to get him to where he needs to be in his career. Right now he’s in his prime and he’s playing some good football. Arik’s got a better upside. He’s strong, fast, athletic, played basketball and he listens. He’s going to be a dominant force for us. I’m glad to be able to enjoy rookie night with him, really take advantage of him. I know at some point in his career he’s going to be a dominant force and he’s going to be terrorizing everything, even in the locker room.
Q: You say Arik has a bigger upside than Calais?
DOCKETT: Yeah, I think.
DOCKETT: His body is built. He’s stronger. Just a natural athleticism about him. Don’t get me wrong – Calais Campbell is a dominant football player. But with the training and Uyi, things that Arik has with him now and the first couple years in the league, it’s going to beneficial to him to be very successful. He’s got a nutritionist here. He’s got one of the best strength coaches here. He’s got a lot of veterans he can learn from. So he’s going to be able to pick the game up a little faster. And he’s got a coach who’s going to take care of him, not wear and tear his body. That will help him be able to sustain a long career. He’s got a lot of upside when it comes to those things. As far as playing ability – how bad does he want it? How bad does he want to train in the offseason? The biggest thing I like about him is that he asks questions and he listens and responds. Some guys come in after getting picked in the first round and they kind of think they know everything. He’s not like that. He asks questions and he wants to learn. He’s very humble. That’s what I really like about him the most. And as far as going out to rookie night with him and tapping his credit card, I’m really going to enjoy that.
Q: Can we come?
DOCKETT: Sure, come on.
Q: Any other young guys catch your eye this offseason?
DOCKETT: One of the guys I trained with this entire offseason, he’s really passionate and has a thing to prove is Nick Moody. He’s had the best offseason I’ve seen of anybody in the organization I was training with in Miami. He’s the first one in, the last one to leave, he’s asking questions, he’s doing things outside of football to take care of his body. I walked in today, he was in there by himself watching film. I think that when you’ve been in an organization with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, it’s kind of like, “Why not him?” I’ve seen the work he’s put in and I’m very impressed. I told him, “Sky’s the limit.” I’m telling you so if he goes out and has a big year, I’m not surprised. Anything less than that would be a disappointment because he worked his a— off. I give him a lot of credit. I’ve been able to watch him work from January all the way up to training camp when I was with him. I’m impressed with him. I’m impressed with a lot of guys on this team. I’ve never played football with a pass rusher like Ahmad and Aldon. This is new for me.