He may not be the leader of an entire people as his surname may indicate, but Dezman Moses has the drive to make a difference among his Green Bay Packers teammates.
In fact, the undrafted rookie linebacker has already raised some eyebrows around the Packers’ OTAs and minicamp. Many are saying that he has raised his stock considerably since signing with the team shortly after the NFL Draft in April.
The 6-foot, 2-inch 249-pounder out of Tulane had some legal issues (public drunkenness) during his two-year stint at Iowa as a freshman and sophomore, but it was when he transferred to Tulane that he finally got his life off and on the field in line.
He’s showing early that his style is to push it into fifth gear and keep it there – and he’s hoping his effort is making a difference.
Well, among his teammates and his coaches, it seems he is. With Clay Matthews on the sidelines during the spring workout sessions Moses lined up with the number one defense across from fellow rookie Nick Perry and proceeded to give the offensive tackles he faced fits of frustration. He was even lined up in front of veteran Erik Walden.
“Sometimes, the older guys, the vets, really don’t like the bull (rush) and I understand,” Moses was quoted this past weekend in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’ve been doing this a really long time. But for me, I have to do it. If Coach tells me in a meeting to do it a certain way, I’m definitely going to do it.”
But just where Moses will fit in the Packers plans still remains to be seen. While he was impressive without pads, things could change drastically when they put on the pads. Couple that with the fact that the Packers have a long list of veteran linebackers who are at least on paper penciled in front of Moses on the depth chart and it will be a mild miracle to think that he could crack the 53-man roster.
“Some guys, when they don’t have pads on, try to make excuses (with) whether or not there’s contact,” Moses said. “I just try to play at the same speed, so once the pads do come on I pretty much have the tempo and don’t have to turn it up or turn it down. The worst thing you want to do is have to turn it up and the game feels like it’s going faster.”
Even Clay Matthews’ eyes were opened while watching Moses and when asked about the rookie’s early performance, this is what he had to say: “He’s been earning all his playing time. Obviously, this is OTAs, but he has shown some athleticism out there. He’s shown he can get after the quarterback, drop into coverage, be a natural athlete. He’s got good size and strength. We’ll see when the pads come on, but he’s been doing well. I think he’s shown the coaches as well as myself everything he needs to at the outside linebacker position.”
Stranger things have happened. Just because a player is a veteran, it doesn’t guarantee a roster spot. Each and every one of those players understand that it’s the best guy who takes the job in the NFL’s dog eat dog environment.
It will certainly be interesting when camp opens. The competition at many positions is going to be heated this year with many like Moses who will be out to make a name for themselves.