Editor's note: The above video of Jim Tomsula is from Aug. 2, 2015.
Prior to his final season with the Arizona Cardinals ending before it ever began with an ACL tear, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett did not get a whole lot of rest with his old team.
In 2013, he played an exhausting 79.9 percent of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps.
Dockett figures to have a completely different role in his first season with the 49ers. The 49ers seem to view him as a pass-rush specialist as part of a five- or six-man rotation on the defensive line.
“Yeah, I would think so,” Dockett said.
At 34, Dockett believes that role is perfect for him this season. The rotation figures to keep everybody fresh during the course of a game -- as well over the entire 16-game regular season.
[RELATED: Dockett makes debut, 'wanted to play more']
“We got a lot of depth at D-line,” Dockett said. “It’s very fortunate because that will also help me because I’m not on a team playing 60, 70, 80 plays, and trying to win a ballgame.”
The 49ers have plenty of options. Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams and Quinton Dial appear to be in line as starters in the 49ers’ 3-4 defense. Then, Dockett and Tank Carradine are likely to enter in passing situations. And other talented players, such as first-round draft pick Arik Armstead, are trying to work into significant roles, too.
“We got so many talented guys with Dial, Armstead, Ian, Tank. ... We’re loaded,” Dockett said. “Those guys can play the run, take the hard downs, and give me an opportunity to get in there and try to get us off the field. We have great chemistry going.”
Dockett, who has 40.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons, is projected as a pass-rusher from defensive tackle. Outside linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch will line up at defensive end in those nickel situations. Dockett said the time is right in his career to leave behind the arduous chore of first-and-10 duty.
“You can do it, but do you want to?” he said. “That’ll have you in Year 12 not even wanting to play football anymore. They do a great job of taking care of players. I give them respect for that.
“You’re not forced to retire because your back is hurting and everything is hurting because they’re killing you every week.”
The 49ers signed Dockett to a two-year, $7.5 million contract in March, a week after the Cardinals released him to avoid paying his scheduled $6.8 million salary.