The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "What does it tell you when Pittsburgh can win with a bad offensive line and a third-string quarterback? … I would argue their defense is one of the three best in the league year in and year out. (Troy) Polamalu is one of the most instinctual defensive players in the league, and he makes plays for them."
• "Give Kansas City credit. They had a great draft. They drafted football players. In terms of making an immediate impact, they may have done a better job than anyone. They went with a lot of SEC talent — (Eric) Berry, (Dexter) McCluster, (Javier) Arenas, Kendrick Lewis. A lot of coaches have a difficult time trusting rookies. It's a credit to the staffs in Kansas City and New England and the ones that can do it when they get rookies out there and ready to go. … When you have an anti-young head coach, it's difficult to build."
• "As a GM, I can't imagine having to deal with Rex Ryan — I know him and like him, but there is a reason he is one of a kind in the head-coaching community. It's great that he likes to have fun, but you wind up having to waste too much time putting out fires with a guy like him on board."
• "It's easy to like big hitters like Bob Sanders and Louis Delmas and Troy Polamalu that throw their bodies around, but the question you really have to ask yourself is — how long will they be able to last? Sanders has never been able to shake the injury bug. … It's the same thing with running backs. We got one who we are never sure will be healthy past Week Eight. It makes you look at your roster a little bit differently."
• "I thought the Falcons would have come away with (a win) against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers, but they came back and made a statement against Arizona. Give Matt Ryan enough time and get the ground game going and he will pick any defense apart. He's smart as a whip. He understands the order of the jungle. He's what you want at the QB position."
• "It's so important when you get to play a team. If you get Carolina without Jeff Otah or even Dallas without Marc Colombo, it could make a huge difference. Minnesota not having its corners really hurts. Every team goes through peaks and valleys. The health of your team is so underrated."
• "I don't think Matt Leinart got cut from Arizona so much on ability — I don't think the other 52 guys wanted to play with him. I don't know how tough he is. He's not a (Ken) Whisenhunt type of guy."
• "San Francisco was seeing eight- and nine-man fronts against Seattle and (the 49ers) kept running into them. Forget about the communication issues getting the plays called. When an offense is that predictable, it does not matter what is being called."
• "(Patriots OG) Logan Mankins should get paid. I don't know what he asked for, but he has been one of the best in the league at his position. It's no easy feat."
• "If a team does not have a clear-cut starter, it probably means they don't have a starter. That's why I think it would be difficult to expand to more teams in the NFL. There are not enough quarterbacks as it is or enough good tackles to protect them. I always wonder what the NFL would look like if they had not expanded to 32. Take away Jacksonville, Carolina, Houston and Cleveland or Baltimore and you have 212 more players to be divided up (among the remaining 28 teams). The level of competition would be that much better."