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Insider: Veteran NT Gregg is football-smart

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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.

• "(Ravens NT) Kelly Gregg can play the game blind-folded and know where pressure is coming from and where the ball is going. He feels it. Those old nose tackles that get big and chubby and have played 10-plus years, they generally know right where the ball is going when it is snapped. … I don't think Ray Lewis gets enough credit for how smart he is. He's very football-smart. You see a lot of great physical specimens struggle in the NFL and that's the reason — they don't know where the ball is going."

• "Shawne Merriman made an impact his first three years. He has not done anything since. I think (GM) A.J. Smith did the right thing. He is sending a message — 'show you want to be here and I will pay you.' He paid (Philip) Rivers, (Antonio) Gates, (Kris) Dielman, (Nick) Hardwick, (Shaun) Phillips, (Quentin) Jammer. What they are doing with Vincent Jackson — they are 100 percent right. You can't give that guy a lot of money. He is a cocktail away from being suspended for the year."

• "You know what Kansas City reminds me of? It reminds me of Cleveland when Phil Savage had it sailing in the right direction and got an extension. They didn't have the quarterback. Matt Cassel may be Derek Anderson. Mike Vrabel is Willie McGinest. They were brought in for how they could help the locker room — they need a pass-rushing linebacker. (CB Brandon) Flowers is a more aggressive Ty Law. … Even Romeo (Crennel, the ex-Browns head coach) is there. I will say this — Romeo is a heck of a defensive coordinator. Charlie Weis is a great offensive coordinator. That has made a huge difference. They understand matchups. This league is about creating matchups. They run certain plays with Thomas Jones and certain plays with Jamaal Charles. Charlie gets it. It'll be interesting to see how they finish and if they can stay healthy."

• "If you look at the Niners' offense, 10 of the pieces are there. The key piece is missing. The mistakes Alex Smith has made have become a pattern. There have been too many of the same errors. It has got to be frustrating to see the same mistakes over and over."  

• "I don't think Jared Allen is playing with the same passion that he did in past years. He never comes off the field. They need to find a way to get him better rested."

• "I'll say this for Pete Carroll. He is truly a players' coach. How he has been able to put Mike Williams back on track is impressive. How often do you see that happen?"

• "The coaches in Carolina and Cincy are in their final year of their contracts. They are waiting to see what happens. It's hard to get motivated and fired up when you are operating that way. It's just human nature — it takes a unique person to get up every day and to keep grinding. Let's be honest."

• "There is a reason Herman Edwards is out of the league right now. He is very difficult to deal with. I don't see him getting another chance as a head coach in the NFL. He's a lot like Mike Singletary. He didn't have coordinator experience before he took the job. He's a screamer and yeller who said a whole lot of nothing. That approach does not work today."

• "How many coaches can go on the road and win convincingly without their starting left tackle or quarterback? Andy Reid is a magician."

• "When you look at the Brady Quinn-Peyton Hillis trade, it looks really lopsided now. Hillis has been a machine. He is lining up deep in the eye, getting a head of steam and creasing defenses. Quinn is lucky to be active any given week."

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