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Insider: Randy Moss is smart player

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By PFW staff

The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

• "Everyone was picking on (Randy) Moss last year for not running hard routes. Why do you think (Bill) Belichick called him one of the smartest players he ever coached? You know why, right? He's there for one reason and one reason only. When a defense is dumb enough to play single-man coverage with no help, that is when he runs hard — he knows they are throwing to him those eight times a game. When it is not single coverage, he jogs off the line and does not finish his route. It's that plain and simple. When Randy is singled, he runs hard, he goes up top and makes plays. If he is doubled, they take (Wes) Welker low, coming across, or look for the tight end. You can coach that."

• "The Cowboys are loaded. They don't have a hole on either side of the ball. Everyone asks what they are going to do now that (longtime OLT) Flozell (Adams) is gone, but when (Doug) Free played last year, (I thought) he did a great job. Watch the games he played in. He showed up against Philadelphia. It was one of the reasons they felt comfortable letting Flozell go. (Free) did not do a bad job against us — I know that."

• "Aaron Rodgers can throw the (heck) out of the ball — when he has time to throw it. The guy that really makes that team go is (CB) Charles Woodson. He is their MVP in my book."

• "(Vikings OLG) Steve Hutchinson was at his best three years ago. The jury is still out on the Vikings' tackles. The way (ORT Phil) Loadholt finished against New ­Orleans was not a good indication for the future."

• "The only way Jake Delhomme will ever get to Canton is if he buys his own ticket and flies there himself. He's got the fire you want your quarterback to have. He's a take-charge leader. But has he ever been a top-flight quarterback? When he's on, he's a good, serviceable starter. The way he played early last year, he was awful. The season was over before it started. He cost (the Panthers) a couple games on his own."

• "Baltimore was big, strong and physical at the end of last year, and then they brought in some more big, physical and strong players. The only question is whether the secondary can hold up — Ed Reed and those corners. The problem is, you have to get to those guys. They are loaded up front. Playing against them is never going to be fun for anyone as long as Ray Lewis is around. What he lost physically he makes up for mentally. They keep him clean, and he gets such a great jump on the ball that he is hard to fool. He wills guys to play better."

• "I can't tell you how Devin Hester is going to play under Mike Martz. I can't tell you how Jay Cutler is going to mesh with Martz. I don't know how Julius Peppers will respond to (defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli. Anytime you get that military mentality behind you, it's tough. You know exactly where that line is in the sand. I don't think Peppers will want to deal with letting Rod down."

• "Buffalo does not have a quarterback. Trent Edwards is always hurt. Can you name me a quarterback who has gotten hurt his first three years in the NFL and then gone on to have success? Look at the guys who have blossomed, from (Joe) Montana to (Peyton) Manning to (Brett) Favre to (Dan) Marino, straight down the list — they just don't get hurt. (Troy) Aikman, even (Drew) Brees, although he was hurt every other year for about five years. (Tom) Brady never got hurt until the one season."

• "It will be interesting to see if Rex (Ryan) can coach all those egos. If the locker room can be controlled, (the Jets) can be very good. There are definitely some personalities and attitude on that team."


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