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Insider: Al Davis was true 'godfather' of NFL

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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.

• "Nobody worked harder or sacrificed more than Al Davis in building the NFL into what it is today. He gave EVERYTHING. He was the true 'godfather' of the NFL. … He was one of a kind. I don't agree with everything he did — a lot of people would probably agree with that — but everyone respected him."

• "QB is the most important position on the field. You need to have a plan or short list at all times. You can't wait until there is an injury to know who is available. … (Dolphins GM) Jeff Ireland is being exposed — when a team works out all the quarterbacks on the street — that is a sign he doesn't know who can play or who to sign. (From my perspective,) it was embarrassing."

• "If you are one of the bottom teams in the league for a couple of years, you better be able to turn it around. With the new CBA, teams are not going to get strangled by a rookie contract for $50 million. I don't think you'll see another team like the Colts going to the playoffs nine consecutive years with the new rules. It's going to be harder and harder. And if you look at it, is it good to have teams like the (New York) Yankees in the NFL or is it good to have a new Super Bowl winner and six new teams in the playoffs every year? That's how the league was built — trying to level the playing field so everyone has a chance every year."

• "Left tackles are difficult to find. I don't think you can draft tackles and cornerbacks by always picking that (low) in (each round). … Look at New England and Pittsburgh — (the Steelers) had that bad year where they drafted (11th overall) and they used it to get (Ben) Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh has not been high enough to draft a tackle. The top two tackles are usually off the board by (No.) 20. Do you draft for need or do you draft the best player on the board? … If you look at the best drafts, they are always looking for the best player at priority positions."  

• "Players in Pittsburgh are starting to see through Mike Tomlin. You've got to remember — he's not much older than some of the players there. The team is old and very mature. That is a well-oiled operation now. If he had a young team like Raheem Morris (does) in Tampa, who knows how it would be going? I think he would have a harder time. The guys that are (in Pittsburgh) now — they keep the locker room in line."

• "You have to give (Packers GM) Ted Thompson credit for letting Brett Favre go when he did in the sense that Brett would have continued to hold the team hostage, not wanting to go to camp, but wanting to play. Throw all that aside, and look at the amount of money invested in starting quarterbacks. It eats up a very healthy piece of the salary cap. You look at what (the Colts) are paying Peyton Manning — you could have a couple more starters right now if he were not consuming as much cap space as he is. They are the one organization I think that deserves a pass for how they started (in 2011)."

• "I think one of the biggest problems you have in Jacksonville is that the head coach's time ran out a few years ago. Any time you have a situation where a coach is sticking around only because his contract is too much to swallow, you have an unhealthy situation. Unfortunately, Jacksonville is in a market that puts the franchise at a competitive disadvantage. They don't have the resources — the cash on hand — to be competitive in that division. The other three (Indianapolis, Tennessee and Houston) do have the resources. So it's a frustrating organization."

• "(Bills owner) Ralph Wilson has good intentions, but he has always been extremely meddling. He gets an idea in his head from somewhere or somebody and he gets stuck on them. He needs a patient GM — that's why a lot of good ones left."

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