The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "Everyone is talking about Green Bay as a front-runner this year. What is funny to me — I don't see how Aaron Rodgers won't be under siege again like he was last year with (OLT Chad) Clifton and (ORT Mark Tauscher) back. It's the same guys protecting the edges. They did not get younger. (Rookie Bryan) Bulaga could help, but it's hard to have big expectations for a rookie. I will say this — they are going to need him by the end of the year. ... The other part that is scary is — who is playing corner? (Charles) Woodson is still one of the best, but (Al) Harris is the oldest corner in the league and coming off a knee injury (he'll miss the first six weeks of the season on the PUP list). Tramon Williams is not very good. And outside of Clay Matthews and Cullen Jenkins, they don't have much of a pass rush."
• "(Broncos OLB) Elvis Dumervil is not a great put-your-hand-in-the-dirt (pass rusher). He is no DeMarcus Ware or James Harrison. He's not Shawne Merriman when (Merriman) is healthy. He's not LaMarr Woodley or even Calvin Pace. Those guys are difference makers. I couldn't believe (Denver) gave him $43 million guaranteed. You could look at his sack production (league-leading 17 in 2009), but a lot of the time he came free, he was coming untouched or (offensive lines) were confused. ... (Terrell) Suggs is a lot better than Dumervil. The way those guys are played, they rarely had to beat a tackle one-on-one with a rush move. The same with Joey Porter. A lot of it is the scheme-blitz package."
• "The worst thing about the Reggie Bush sanctions is that they are penalizing guys who are no longer there. (USC RB coach) Todd McNair is gone. Pete (Carroll) is not there. What hurts most are the bowl game (restrictions). That is money out of the pocket. And taking 10 scholarships away for three years — you figure if they would have hit on three solid starters of those 10 (lost scholarships) each year, that is nine starters they are losing (in three years), and there probably would have been a few first-rounders in that group. (The diminishing talent level) equates to a few losses. Add it up and it's probably a $12 million to $18 million hit on the (athletic) program. (The NCAA) hit them where it hurts most — in the pocketbook."
• "I don't think Baltimore's defense is going to be very good. The defense is old and cannot cover. They lost their corner (Domonique Foxworth). Kelly Gregg and Trevor Pryce are old. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are not getting younger, and Reed won't be ready until October, it looks like. Their two corners — (Fabian) Washington and (Lardarius) Webb are both coming off knee (injuries) and have never been great. They do have an offensive line and a young quarterback and a good back, but the strength of their roster has done a complete 180. It used to be that if they scored two touchdowns, they would win (because) they would only give up 10 points. Now they can score 24-30 points, but they will be giving up 30 instead of 10 like before."
• "(Eagles defensive coordinator Sean) McDermott was not nearly as good as (the late) Jim Johnson. Not close. There are only a few guys that really know how to create matchup havoc. Obviously, Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh is one. Rex Ryan is exceptional. It sure helps to have great players, but it really helps to have the coordinators who can put you in the right positions to make plays."
• "I have to believe the NFL will have expansion within five years. Doesn't that have to be part of the new CBA? Players can make up (some of the) money (owners are seeking to take back) by getting two expansion teams. If the union is forced to take a pay cut (from the current deal), two more teams would close the gap. Two more stadiums would increase revenues. You move to 18 games and you have two bye weeks."
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