49ers running back Frank Gore doesn't always have the best of days against the Arizona Cardinals. He doesn't always have the worst, either. Last season, the Niners opened up play against the Cardinals and Frank Gore only picked up thirty yards on twenty-two attempts. That's a 1.4 average, with six yards being his longest run of the day. Guess who was all over him that game? Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett.
Dockett disposed of whatever hapless offensive lineman happened to be in his way on each and every running play, and served his purpose to put tiny Frank Gore into the ground. Gore was crushed and ground into a pile of glass and dust by everyone on the Cardinals roster that day, but on any given play, if you looked for #90, you found him behind the line of scrimmage hitting something or other. He only had two tackles on the day, but rest assured, he was there, and he was bringing the pain.
Fast-forward to week fourteen and it's a wonder what three more rushing attempts can do for you. Frank Gore carried 25 times that day, amassing 167 yards with a 6.7 average and a long of 36 yards, with one touchdown. Dockett was active in this game as well, but Frank Gore got the better of him this time. Gore stopped him in blitz pick-up at least on two occasions, and of course got around the whole of Arizona's defense en route to his big game. Dockett was no entirely inactive though, snaring an interception in the contest.
If Vernon Davis isn't attached at the hip to Dockett all day staying in to block, it will be worth paying attention to which one between Gore and Dockett comes out on top, let's call it even right now. Docket will have some new faces on the offensive line to deal with this go 'round, but the man piling up the rushing attempts will be a familiar foe.