Moses seeks to become proven commodity
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There were no expectations on Packers outside linebacker Dezman Moses last season. Any positive contribution that the undrafted rookie made was a bonus for Green Bay's defense.
That's all going to change next season for Moses. He's no longer an unknown player. He's proven what he can do on the field and will be counted on by the Packers to play an important role in their defense.
"Next year will be a little different and expectations are a little higher," Moses told FOXSportsWisconsin.com this week. "But that allows me to work just as hard to go out and become the player I know I can be in my mind. I give a ton of credit to the Packers for giving me an opportunity. Most guys in my position don't even get a chance to show what they have."
Moses met every goal he had as a rookie. He wanted to make the active roster and accomplished that with relative ease following a very good training camp. He wanted to make a few impact plays during the season and successfully did so with four sacks and one forced fumble.
"As an undrafted guy, those were pretty high expectations I had for myself," Moses said. "My expectations for myself are always higher than what others expect. I've already set goals for next season and am working toward those in the offseason. If you do that every offseason, you'll become a better player."
Moses, 24, identified what his own weaknesses were in his rookie season. He believes he needs better flexibility, a quicker burst and quicker movements in order to increase his explosiveness. Moses also noted that consistency is an area he could improve on.
"If you get complacent, that's when other guys climb above you," Moses said. "If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. I've been working my tail off in the offseason to surpass expectations again."
More opportunities should be available next season for Moses. Erik Walden, who played far more snaps than Moses in 2012, signed with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. Frank Zombo, who played very little last season due to injuries, is now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. That leaves only Moses, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry as the team's current outside linebackers under contract.
"I'm very confident in my ability," Moses said. "I may not be as big or fast as other guys, but it takes a lot more than that to determine how good a guy is going to be."
Moses (6-2, 249) wasn't even invited to the Scouting Combine last year. Coming out of Tulane, he barely registered on the NFL's radar.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I just kept working hard. I saw my mother work two jobs all my life, so work ethic was always a major part of my game. I'll outwork anyone."
Moses has short-term goals that he prefers to keep private until he reaches them. He does have one long-term goal, though, that he doesn't mind making public.
"I want to be a Pro Bowler in this league someday," Moses said. "That's a lot to ask, but that's a goal you have to work for. If you just want to be a regular player in the league, you're not pushing yourself enough. Whether or not I meet that goal, that's what I have to work toward. You have to want to achieve that. That's one of my goals.
"I would definitely love to be mentioned as a very good player or one of the better players at my position in the NFL."
Moses wants to be mentioned in the same sentence as his teammate Matthews, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro. Being able to practice next to Matthews and talk with him during team meetings has already been a huge benefit.
"He critiques my game and I try to pick his brain," Moses said. "He's always there to help. That's saying a lot about a guy, especially a superstar like Clay. He doesn't have to do that, but he takes it to another level by helping a young guy like me."
Moses doesn't just have individual goals and increased personal expectations. He also wants to make sure that the Packers don't bow out of the playoffs in the way that they did when Green Bay was easily handled in the divisional round by the San Francisco 49ers.
"Being there and seeing the pain of losing, it's a little different now," Moses said. "You really want to go in there and get it done. You don't want to be that team that always gets to the playoffs and loses. It definitely made me hungrier."
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