The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity:
• “(Jerry) Richardson knows he is on borrowed time with his second heart and there is that urgency now that you see from older owners. That is why the decision (to fire GM Marty Hurney during the bye week) came when it did. The other part is — Marty is a standup guy. He takes responsibility for mistakes. He hired Ron Rivera and picked the players. If it’s any combination of players or coaches, it’s on the GM, and Marty acknowledged that."
• “You want to know what the difference is between winning and losing in the NFL? The margin of error is so small. It can come down to one player — hitting on one draft pick no one expects or finding a gem after the draft or in free agency — that can be the difference between making the playoffs and sitting at home. It can be the difference between keeping your job and losing it. It’s not easy to swallow, but that’s the cold, hard truth.
• “(Browns rookie WR) Josh Gordon started the season off slowly. He didn’t know how to run a route and had no idea how to separate against press coverage. I guess when you haven’t played football for a year, it’s to be expected. He’s showing improvement.”
• “Lance Briggs can still play and he’s playing his (butt) off, but Brian Urlacher is beaten up and just getting by. I don’t think he has played well at all this year, and he’s really starting to wear down. If we were to play them, I’m running it right at him every time.”
• “Cam (Newton)’s mechanics are bad. He’s throwing moving away from his target all the time. They have been running that (b.s.) offense. How do you have all the money tied up in (Jonathan Stewart) and (DeAngelo Williams) and not feed them? They have no legitimate receivers, really, outside of Steve Smith. (Brandon) LaFell is not a legitimate receiver. They have no receivers, man. Who would you take in this year’s draft better than Cam? At least he is two years away from replacement. There is no one on the street better than him right now. Who are you going to find — Donovan McNabb and Vince Young? Maybe the boy in Seattle — (Matt) Flynn? You might be able to trade for a guy like Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel. They’ll both probably be on the street next year if they clear that place (Kansas City) out.”
• “If I’m looking for a quarterback, I’d have to think about Tony Romo. If you have a good coach who knows how to straighten out quarterbacks, I think you could work with him. Just think about all the stuff he has had to put up with, with that owner, and the knucklehead receiver (Dez Bryant) and all the distractions they have in that place. He could be a lot better in a new setting.”
• “I could see Ryan Tannehill bailing out (Dolphins GM) Jeff Ireland for another year. You live and die with your quarterback and the rookie might have saved (Ireland).”
• “If you’re going to talk about young, up-and-coming GM candidates, one guy I have been really impressed with is (Chiefs director of pro personnel) Ray Farmer. I just think he gets it. He is a unique, smart former player. As a GM, you need to be a good listener. You need to be confident, but not egotistical. You need to take the heat, but not the glory. I think Ray gets all that.”
• “Now that we have seen the first coordinator and GM let go, I think you’ll start seeing a lot more moving parts the next couple of weeks. The reason is — if you’re lining up to hire the best, you don’t want to be the last man looking. That’s what Al (Davis) always did. He had no timetable, and he always got stuck with the C-level coaches. You have to get in front of it and do your homework. There are a lot of talented people in the league, but you've got to find them and vet it out and sometimes move very quickly.”