Newly enshrined Hall of Famer Russ Grimm coaches more than the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line. Defensive players also benefit from the information and expertise Grimm has collected during three-plus decades as a player and coach.
Few players appear more eager to learn than Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. I watched Dockett and Grimm speak for roughly 15 minutes during a recent practice, one of a few such conversations I observed during three-plus days at Cardinals camp.
"It's football and respect," Dockett said. "You sit back and you learn knowledge."
On a humorous note, though, Dockett would like to reserve a little lesson for Grimm one of these times.
"I've been trying to go against him one-on-one," Dockett said. "I told him I just want to get one pass rush against him, just so I can say I went against a Hall of Famer -- and I promise I'm going to kick his ass."
Dockett seemed to revel in the thought. Of course, he was speaking only of the 51-year-old version of Grimm, not the one Grimm's former line coach, Joe Bugel, recalled clearing out Hall of Famer Randy White play after play during one memorable Washington Redskins victory over the Dallas Cowboys years ago.
"Yeah, right now, I know his back hurts, he has bad knees, he always complains about his ankles," Dockett said. "I got him right now, I promise you."
Grimm holds the edge on Dockett for now, though. He routinely changes the snap count for Dockett during pass-rush drills against the Cardinals' defensive players. He drew Dockett offside on back-to-back plays early in camp. Dockett knows that's just Grimm trying to make him better. He appreciates the attention from an all-time NFL great.
"He's a good guy, too," Dockett said. "Rides his Harley, talks to you, a players' coach, never walks past you and don't speak. Much respect from me."