The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "(NFLPA executive director) DeMaurice Smith aspires to be a politician and is milking the labor situation for short-term fame to blow up his name and help earn a spot in office, with no regard for future of the NFL. The longer his name is in the headlines, the better for his career. It's unfortunate — a lockout is not as much about the players and owners as it is Smith's ego."
• "It was a wasted game the last time Chicago faced Green Bay (at the end of the regular season). If the Bears keep running the football, they win that game. But (Bears offensive coordinator) Mike Martz pulled back and took his foot off the accelerator. For as good as Green Bay has been in the playoffs, the Giants would have been even more formidable. (New York's) defensive line is the best in football."
• "I wasn't sure about (Panthers new head coach) Ron Rivera hiring Sean McDermott — guys who get fired usually get let go for good reason. But what you have to remember, this is going to be Rivera's defense. He's going to call the plays and run it. It's a lot like Rivera when he came to Chicago. Lovie Smith was there and expected to run (the defense). There's not as much risk as you think. What Ron needed was someone who could break it down and do the dirty work and that's where McDermott will be great for him. I think they'll be a great team. And I like the (Rob) Chudzinski hire (as offensive coordinator). You have to remember — San Diego had the best offense and defense in the league, and they were missing a lot of parts this season. (OLT) Marcus McNeill was out. (WR) Vincent Jackson was out. They were missing a lot of receivers. The defensive line was beat up. They coached the heck out of those guys. Carolina pulled from the right tree."
• "What makes the Steelers so tough to prepare for is you never know where they are going to come from. You need to be on the same page on the offensive line to set protection and account for everyone."
• "Adding Dave Wannstedt to the coaching staff was a win for Buffalo. Chan Gailey has it headed in the right direction. I always thought Wanny was best in a support role when he was in Dallas. That's when he did his best work. I expect (the Bills) will benefit a lot from his experience."
• "When Brad Childress was let go, it bolstered the position of (Vikings vice president of player personnel) Rick Spielman. Leslie (Frazier) knows what his strengths are and is not going to overstep his bounds. He'll trust his people to do their jobs and not get in the way or create the problems that Brad did. From that standpoint alone, it's a big win for the Vikings. Spielman has done an excellent job building that roster. Adrian Peterson is not there without him. Childress' control of the 53-man roster hurt the team. It's easy to overlook — but you see the problems they had on the offensive line. It was Brad who cut (Bengals C) Kyle Cook. It was Brad who cut (Buccaneers OLT) Donald Penn. It's not easy to find offensive linemen now. And then you look at the whole Randy Moss situation and Brett Favre. Brad was too stubborn — he wanted to do his own thing and was not willing to accept input. And it cost (the Vikings) for a long time."
• "When the Titans decided to keep Jeff Fisher, I have a feeling there were some conditions attached. I have to believe they pushed him to get rid of the coordinator. Losing Jim Schwartz really set back the franchise the last two years. Chuck (Cecil) just wasn't getting it done. I'm not sure he's cut out to be a coordinator. It's not for everyone."