John Dockery might have suited up for both the Jets and the Steelers during his playing days, but he was pulling for only one team in the AFC Championship Game last January.
“I’m a Jet at heart. I have the Super Bowl ring here,” he told me this week at the 40th annual Namath/Dockery Football Camp. “The Steelers have enough of them. We want another one for the Jets.”
Dockery, a cornerback who started his career with the Jets from 1968-71 and then played two seasons with the Steelers, made an interesting comparison between a current Green & White cornerback and one of his former Steeler teammates.
“I played with a cornerback who is as good as Darrelle Revis — Mel Blount. Spectacular. Big guy, long arms and tough,” Dock said. “Darrelle Revis is a little different, but he’s so quick and he allows Rex to come with the blitz and put pressure.”
The 6’3”, 205-pound Blount, a third-round pick of the Steelers in 1970, was a four-time All-Pro who played in five Pro Bowls and four Super Bowls. He amassed 57 interceptions and picked off a pass in each of his first 14 seasons before retiring in 1983.
The 5’11”, 198-pound Revis, selected No. 14 overall by the Jets in 2007, already is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro. But Revis’ interception total stayed at zero in 2010 because opposition quarterbacks rarely threw in his direction.
The Jets collected 12 interceptions last season, a number that tied them for 25th in football. But Dockery would like to see more of a consistent push up front from a Green & White defensive outfit that amassed 40 sacks in regular-season action.
“I’d like to see more pass rush,” said the Brooklyn, N.Y., native. “The corners are spectacular, a little help at safety wouldn’t hurt and for Rex Ryan to keep coming the way he’s been coming.”
Count Dockery as another in a long list of folks who have bought into Ryan’s refreshing approach.
“People say, ‘Oh, he talks too much.’ Hey, he’s taken pressure off the team and he believes,” he said. “Why shouldn’t he talk? And you know what? He gets the best out of his players.
“If you’re running an organization like he’s running an organization, with high-octane athletes with egos as big as New York City, you better be able to manage them. He’s been able to manage different kinds of people and get the most out of them. I admire him. He’s a great CEO of a corporation.”
After the Jets’ consecutive appearances in the conference championship game, Dockery believes they’re ready to be super. Homefield advantage would be a plus next winter and there is no replacement for the experience the Jets have already gained.
“Having the home fans’ support can take you that one extra step, so I think it would be huge for them. Also having been there twice now, these guys understand it a little bit no matter what they say,” Dock said. “As you go along and you go to the next level in the playoffs, there’s lots of stuff going on all over the place. But they’ve been there now and they’re ready for the next step into the Super Bowl.”
Tags: Darrelle Revis, John Dockery, Mel Blount, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan
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