The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "(Dolphins LB Karlos) Dansby is in on every play for Miami. He's worth every cent they paid for him, and you can bet Ken Whisenhunt is very well aware of it. The Cardinals had to be looking at their bottom line, seeing the great profits they have made the last four years and looking at the uncertainty ahead with the CBA. I feel really bad for Whiz. He's one of the best coaches in the league. He works his butt off and gets to the playoffs two straight years. He's got to be looking at it and thinking, 'this is how I get rewarded?' (Ownership) just gives away his best players."
• "I don't think (Steelers OLB) James Harrison is a dirty player at all. That is what is so hard with the rule changes. You look at how he is built. Because he hits with the correct form — head up, back arched and driving through the ball — because he is technically sound but is four to six inches shorter than many quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers, he is put in a bad position if they duck or he hits them on the rise — even though he is in good hitting position. Hey, the guy has beat the odds and overcome his height disadvantage already and now it's coming back to bite him in the ass. Make no mistake about it — he's not a cheap or dirty player. He's just explosive and violent and for that, they are fining the hell out of him. It's not right."
• "Houston has a lot of offensive weapons. The problem is that the defense is so tired. (The Texans) have to score 40 points to win every week."
• "The Vikings are playing inspired football for Leslie Frazier. You could see a difference right away."
• "The Denver situation could get ugly. There have been too many mistakes in personnel. They ran off too much talent and are not getting the job done. Everyone wants a piece of (Bill) Belichick, but what they are missing — his personnel philosophy is carrying a lot further than his coaching. That's where he does not get enough credit. Look at the progress the Chiefs and Falcons have made. If I'm an owner, I'm taking a look at guys who have been exposed to Belichick's scouting system, and I'm not just looking in New England, because a lot of the good ones move on, and have been granted other opportunities."
• "Tennessee is going down hard. That (head-coaching) job could open up. They might force the owner to fire Jeff Fisher. He would be a hot commodity if he left, but I don't know where he would go."
• "I thought the Chargers were going to be 12-4 and have the most difficult time with the back half of their schedule because it was so soft early and so hard late. It's been a crazy, backward year for them."
• "How about the first-place St. Louis Rams? That's what a quarterback can do for a franchise."
• "I think we will have the (labor situation) figured out sooner than later. There is too much riding on it. There are a lot of changes coming that will change the landscape of free agency. The current system was put in place as a triggered mechanism to put pressure on the players and the union to negotiate a contract. When there was no salary cap, everyone was wary that the big-market teams could spend, but there has not been a lot of spending. (Clubs) have stood united."
"(Stanford head coach Jim) Harbaugh is going to demand some cash. If he goes to Michigan and wins, he'll still be a hot commodity (for the NFL). Alumni are stacking the deck. College jobs have become much more lucrative and have a lot more perks than they used to."