Packers taking notice of rookie OLB Moses
JUL 05, 2012 3:24p ET
Moses, an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, was already playing snaps at outside linebacker with the first team defense during minicamp. During the offseason practices when Clay Matthews participated in only the conditioning drills, Moses was lined up at right outside linebacker alongside starters Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk and first-round pick Nick Perry.
With Moses next-in-line at outside linebacker behind Matthews, that means -- at least at the time -- he was ahead of last year's starter, Erik Walden, on the depth chart. For Moses, that's a sign that defensive coordinator Dom Capers has already taken notice of his playmaking abilities.
"He's put me in there and feels I can compete for that position and get some playing time during the season," Moses said. "Working with the first team is always a blessing because you get to go up against the best. I'm going against the first team (offensive) tackles and (Aaron) Rodgers is getting the ball out immediately, so you're getting the pace you would get in a game."
Moses made the most of his opportunities during offseason practices, picking up multiple sacks -- the two-hand touch version -- against NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Though statistics aren't officially kept, Moses appeared to have more sacks during mini-camp against Rodgers than the rest of the first-team defense combined.
"That's the advantage of working with the first team," Moses said. "The amount of reps I'm getting is allowing me to become more comfortable. I'm seeing a lot of different things, so once I see it again, it's natural. It's not like I'm thinking through anything. It's really just me being able to play faster. Once I see it, and see it again, I kind of have a feel for what's coming. And that totally helps.
"That's what playing football is about, especially when you're changing levels. The speed is a little different and you don't want to have to think too much, so the reps are definitely helping."
The biggest competition for Moses claiming the top reserve spot at outside linebacker is Walden. During the 2011 season, Walden started 15 games for the Packers, but struggled with consistency and was replaced prior to Week 17 and the playoffs.
There aren't many other outside linebackers on Green Bay's roster. Brad Jones, who had primarily played outside linebacker in previous seasons, has been moved to the inside. Frank Zombo, who played well in the 2010 season and even started and recorded a sack in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been unable to stay healthy ever since. D.J. Smith, a rookie linebacker last season who appears ready for a productive career in Green Bay, plays only on the inside.
That means Moses could already be closing in on claiming one of the Packers' 53-man roster spots.
"That's really out of my control," Moses said. "I'm not the person who decides. If it was up to me, obviously, I would pick me. But it's not up to me, so I just try whenever I'm out there, whenever I'm on the field, I try to impress and play hard. Play at one speed, which is 100 percent.
"Let all the people who are judging and making the decisions view me in the right way. And at least say, ‘This guy plays hard. We know what we're going to get out of him every day.' Whether it works out or not, I can live with that and know I gave my best and 100 percent.
"But I feel like if I do everything right, and do what I'm supposed to, then I'll have a good chance."
It didn't take long for Moses' teammates to take notice of what he can do on the field.
"Oh, man, he's good," Bishop said. "That kid is good. Run-stopping, rushing the passer, getting his calls in. He's smart. He's a good player. It's definitely impressive. He definitely impressed a lot of people, obviously. It's going to be fun to see him out there."
Cornerback Tramon Williams, an undrafted player himself six years ago, praised Moses' skills as well.
"We talk about him every day, pretty much," Williams said. "He got a lot of strength and a lot of pass-rushing ability. I'm excited to see what he does when we put on the pads."
If Moses does earn a spot, he would join a growing list of undrafted players in Green Bay to make the active roster. Last season, 17 undrafted players were wearing their helmet and pads on game day, including cornerbacks Williams, Sam Shields and Jarrett Bush, tight end Tom Crabtree and the now-No. 2 quarterback, Graham Harrell.
"This is a great team, and I would love to be a part of it," Moses said.
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