NFC Notes: 49ers, Cards, Cowboys, Bucs

Although the 49ers had a hectic offseason highlighted by the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh and surprise retirements of Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Chris Borland and Anthony Davis, newcomer Darnell Dockett is unfazed by the team’s troubles. The longtime Cardinals defensive tackle signed with the 49ers before Willis, Smith, Borland and Davis retired, but he’s confident the club will overcome an adverse offseason and find itself in the thick of what should be a highly competitive NFC West race in 2015.

“I’ve been in the division for so long, everybody’s aiming for the top teams, so I was getting a lot of criticism and people saying, `Oh, man, why’d you go to San Fran?’ and `Why’d you do this, everybody’s jumping ship? You should have went to Seattle,’ Dockett, 34, told the Associated Press.

“I’ve been playing in this league for so long, it don’t matter the players that depart the team. It’s all about the chemistry and things you build in July and August. Everybody’s got to play the game on Sunday.”

Dockett, who missed the 2014 season with a knee injury, expects to be ready for training camp next month. The three-time Pro Bowler is also excited to play for new coach Jim Tomsula.

“I’ve had the utmost respect for Jim throughout my career. After every game we met on the 50-yard line and always talked football,” Dockett said.

In other NFC news. . .

  • Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington – whom the NFL suspended for four games in 2013 and all of 2014 because of multiple substance-abuse violations – is expected to miss time this year because of domestic-violence issues, but he told Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 that he’s “confident that something will work out.” Washington added that he’ll be ready for training camp in August.
  • The Cowboys elected early in the offseason to place the franchise tag on star receiver Dez Bryant and let reigning rushing champion DeMarco Murray become a free agent. Those decisions led to acrimony between the team and Bryant, who still hasn’t signed his one-year franchise tender and only has until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Dallas, and Murray’s departure to NFC East rival Phildelphia. However, if given the chance to reverse course, tag Murray and let Bryant hit free agency, the Cowboys wouldn’t do it, according to Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News.
  • The Buccaneers will try to make first overall pick Jameis Winston’s transition from Florida State to the pros as smooth as possible. One method they’re exploring includes using “virtual reality” technology to help the quarterback, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.
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