The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "What people don't realize is that Peyton Manning may go down in history as the best to ever play the game. When you talk about the top 100 players to ever play the game, don't give me Joe Montana. Look at what he had around him — Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, (Steve) Wallace the left tackle, the center (Jesse) Sapolu. The guy had a Hall of Fame head coach. No one is more feared than Peyton Manning. The guy calls his own plays. To me, he's the best that ever played the game."
• "Chicago is a lot better than people think. They have confidence, they have momentum, they are healthy. They had three extra days to prepare for the Eagles coming off the Thursday-night game. They shifted the offense after the bye week. They are max-protecting more. What Mike Martz was doing wasn't working so they went back to 'Lovie Ball.' They are running it more, and not putting as much on the quarterback, and he's finally starting to play within himself."
• "Too much was made over the (Broncos') filming. Why would they be filming that when they have nine or 10 games they could look at? It baffles me. … It was not the first time, and I don't think it will be the last — anything for a competitive advantage. But after what happened in New England, you would think a lesson would have been learned. I don't think the (video director) will be allowed to work in the NFL anymore. You are screwing with the integrity of the game — those are some pretty serious charges."
• "If you want to talk about textbook technique and understanding angles, take a look at (Jets ORT) Damien Woody play. He's such a great technician."
• "Could things get any worse than they are in Carolina right now? They have hit rock bottom. There are a few places where you just know it's a matter of time — Carolina, Cincinnati, San Francisco."
• "I was the first to criticize (Buffalo GM) Buddy Nix. It's still shocking to me that he is the GM of an NFL team. It blows my mind. … But I do think they got a very good coach and it's moving in the right direction."
• "There are not as many teams that need quarterbacks as there typically have been. Just start in the NFC. The East is covered. Maybe Washington could use a young one. The Vikings need to figure out a plan for the future. Carolina has one — they just need a coach. The biggest need is in the West. The Rams have (Sam) Bradford and (Matt) Hasselbeck is good when he is healthy, but the reason that division has been so bad is because of the QB play."
• "If you go back and look at where things stood just two weeks ago and look at where they are now, you'd be shocked how much things have changed. It's not easy to get wins in this league. You can't look beyond the next week or you're dead in the water. There are no gimmes anymore. Home-field advantage is so big in this league. Home field and health — those are the two big factors you've got to look at every week."
• "I don't know that Jon Gruden fits in Carolina, but the guy coached his (butt) off in Tampa Bay, and he will work at it. He may have too much ego to fit in Carolina. I could see him drop down to college because there are not enough jobs in the NFL right now. Minnesota and Dallas are the two teams with the most talent, and if they stick with the interims, there are not a lot of attractive options out there."
• "(Colts TE Jacob) Tamme is playing well. (WR Blair) White is playing well. Indy is always beat up, but the one thing they do really well — they know how to re-load."
• "Seattle — I don't know what they are doing. I can't figure it out. You never know what team is going to show up every week. The same with Jacksonville and Houston."