The Arizona Cardinals received a crushing blow to their star-studded defense yesterday when 3-4 defensive end Darnell Dockett went down with an ACL tear after injuring his right knee in practice. Dockett’s injury leaves the Cardinals with a hole opposite of Calais Campbell, as Dockett was a crucial player up front due to his immense power and ability to harass opposing quarterbacks. While not consistent on a snap-to-snap basis, Dockett is a dynamic presence up front and is capable of putting in a mesmerizing display of dominance in any given game.
According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, former Pittsburgh Steelers star defensive end Brett Keisel is flying to Arizona today for a physical with the Cardinals, and it looks like the organization has tabbed Keisel as their preferred veteran replacement for Dockett. Head coach Bruce Arians and starting inside linebacker Larry Foote are two other members of the Cardinals with notable connections to the Steelers, so Keisel would probably feel right at home with a team that likes to scoop up former Steelers vets.
It’s unclear how much Keisel has left in the tank, as he contemplated retirement at one point last year while battling a nasty case of plantar fasciitis (well, all cases of the injury are unkind). He isn’t going to be anywhere near Dockett as an interior pass rusher, but he should be a steadying presence up front, especially when it comes to setting the edge in run defense. With Campbell and Dan Williams locked in, the Cardinals defensive line will be fine, and Keisel looks like a decent fit on paper.