Undrafted free agent Dezman Moses was the camp darling last year on the Green Bay Packers defense. The year before that it was Vic So’oto, and this year it just may be undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba. It seems every year an unproven outside linebacker splashes on the scene and makes some noise in camp.
Last year, Moses brought intensity to practice every day, and after joining the team as a long shot to make the final roster, he moved up the Packers’ depth chart in rapid fashion with his outstanding play in camp.
Moses proved to be a key contributor on defense during the season last year. With Nick Perry injured and Erik Walden starting at outside linebacker alongside Clay Matthews, Moses quickly became the Packers top reserve at outside linebacker and even got a few starts when Matthews went down with an injury. Moses ended up finishing third on the team with four sacks and proved to be a good rotational player that brought some pass rush from the outside.
So where is the intense and passionate Moses of last year?
So far in camp, Moses has been predominately absent. Entering this season, I thought he’d be a lock to make the final roster, and he’d push Perry for the starting left outside linebacker position. But as of now, it seems he may not even make the team.
It was reported in practice today by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that both Mike Nealand undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba were getting looks on the second-team defense ahead of Moses. Mulumba played outstanding in the last week’s preseason game, and Moses was unimpressive. He completely whiffed on an open field tackle as he tried to bring down running back Isaiah Pead in the flat on a swing pass. Moses also lost his man dropping back in zone coverage and gave up a 37-yard pass to Jared Cook. He wasn’t even close to the tight end. Plus, so far in camp, the second-year linebacker just hasn’t gotten the same pressure he did last year.
Maybe Moses will turn things around in the last two preseason games, but with the ascent of Mulumba and the utilization of Neal at outside linebacker, there seems to be very little room left for Moses on the outside. He’s going to have to compete with rookie sixth-round pick Nate Palmer for the final spot at the position, and Palmer got a few good pressures in Saturday night’s game.
Despite having a rough camp so far, Moses is a fighter and should at least make a run for the final roster. The Packers won’t easily forget his contributions to the team last year, and Moses still has two more preseason games to make a splash on defense.