The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "The decisions to cut (Donovan) McNabb and (Kyle) Orton were not as big as they were made out to be (by the media). The Vikings lost a snapper and a safety that they needed to replace. Donovan was not in shape and was not working at it. You want your veterans to set a positive example for your young players, and you don't want those guys becoming distractions. I thought they were both good moves and the right moves for the clubs."
• "Usually at this time of the year, there is more clarity about who will be in the Super Bowl. Yeah, Green Bay is undefeated, but if they land on a field where they can't throw the ball and they have to play power football, I'm not so sure they are the best team in the NFC. And they are looking at a cold home field. The Packers look a lot like the Patriots did when they ran the table - a loss might be good for them right now. I think they need to be humbled."
• "The Falcons and Bears look like the (NFC) wild cards right now, but that could change. (In the AFC,) does New England have a good enough defense to get (to the Super Bowl)? Can the Jets run the ball well enough to get there? Is Pittsburgh good enough on defense and healthy enough to get there? There are a lot of questions. I don't remember (the race) being so wide open in December."
• "I hear that the Jaguars are at a competitive disadvantage in spending, but then you look at the money they threw at the linebackers this year. And if you looked at the history of Clint Session, there was no surprise that he was going to get hurt. … I don't even want to tell you where we had their quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) rated on our board. I thought he would be worth developing, but I could never justify taking a chance on him where they did — and they traded up to get him. It's going to be interesting to see how he comes along."
• "I have watched (Vikings QB) Christian Ponder make some throws here and there, but I don't see anything special about the way he is playing. Everyone is making these rookie quarterbacks out to be the second coming. Let's give it a few years before we anoint them. I think there are going to be a lot of busts out of that group of first-round quarterbacks."
• "Put on the tape and watch (Lions DT) Ndamukong Suh get blocked one-on-one all game and you show me where he is the dominant player he has been made out to be (by the media). I've never seen a bigger farce. I thought he was overrated coming out of college, and he has done nothing to change my mind. He's nothing but a bunch of hot air, and I think people are starting to come around to it."
• "The talk died down after (the Dolphins) won a few games, but I don't see any way how (Dolphins GM) Jeff Ireland survives. He has not endeared himself to many people around the league, and you look at the way he treated the head coach last year — I don't think he'll ever live that down."
• "Cleveland does not have any receivers to bail their quarterback (Colt McCoy) out. I counted four drops last week. (Mohamed) Massaquoi is nonexistent, and they finally cut Brian Robiskie — those were supposed to be Eric Mangini's two great receivers that year he took them in the second round. The next guy in line, (Jordan) Norwood, was a free agent. He does nothing after the catch. And the running game is not very good. Contrast that to (Bengals QB) Andy Dalton — he stands in there and he's tough, but look at how many times his receivers bail him out. He gets bailed out on big plays at the end of the game on a short field. When they need a run, Cedric Benson is pounding it. I don't care how good you are (as a quarterback) — you better have some talent around you."
• "One of the Saints' big problems — I don't know why this is — but look at how they have played against inexperienced or rookie quarterbacks. Take Arizona and Cleveland last year — they played down to the level of competition. Even against Carolina and Jacksonville this year — they beat them, but it was a struggle. Jacksonville was no cakewalk. They gave up 31 to St. Louis. The defense has been disappointing."