He Can Hit You in the Face and Make You Miss

Those are some of the words that outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene used to describe undrafted rookie Dezman Moses. Moses, who was one of the surprise standouts of minicamp, brings a full-throttle, no-nonsense approach to his roster battle.

Dezman Moses is about first impressions.

His final impression wasn't a bad one, either.

On the last 11-on-11 snap of offseason workouts on Thursday, Moses got in the face of quarterback Graham Harrell on fourth-and-long. Harrell chucked the ball down the field, and the resulting incompletion gave the defense the victory in a two-minute drill.

Moses, a hard-charging, undrafted rookie out of Tulane, was one of the standout players of organized team activities and the abbreviated minicamp.

"Whether it's a rookie, a free agent or whatever it is, that's just the way I play the game," Moses — 6-foot-2, and a chiseled 249 pounds — told a couple of reporters in the back of Lambeau Field's auxiliary locker room after Thursday's practice. "Even in college, my senior year, where my spot was solidified, I was a guy who always went out and practiced hard. That's something that's been instilled in me since I was a little guy. My dad always talked about, ‘You never want to take a day off. If that was the first time somebody ever saw you play, you want to make a good impression because you only get one first impression.' I always want to make the best one."

Moses has made plenty of good impressions, including sacks in both minicamp practices. Moses played with the No. 1 defense, taking advantage of injuries to Clay Matthews and Frank Zombo to join first-round pick Nick Perry as the starting outside linebackers.

"He's been earning all his playing time," Matthews said. "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."

Added cornerback Tramon Williams: "We talk about him every day, pretty much."

Moses, who opened his career playing outside linebacker at Iowa, finished with 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior defensive end at Tulane. He was a player of interest before the draft, as the Packers left no stone unturned in their search for outside linebackers and pass rushers.

"He's really fluid and has some God-given ability," outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene said. "He's turned out to be a kid that knows about pass coverage already, so now I have to teach him a little bit of the refinement of technique and fundamentals. He already knows that stuff a little bit; now it's just a matter of learning where he fits in our scheme. I like him. He's a big guy."

While Perry is learning how to play linebacker after lining up at defensive end at USC, Moses can lean on his experience from Iowa.

"Recall and instinct. You don't forget that stuff," Greene said.

Moses didn't forget.

"Coming from Iowa, I played two years at outside linebacker, so I'm (really) comfortable standing up — probably more comfortable than being in a three-point stance," Moses said. "Coming back and playing outside linebacker, standing up, moving around a little, rushing the passer, those are things I think I can do well and I'm excited about doing."

Obviously, beating an offensive lineman in an unpadded practice in June isn't quite the same thing as beating him in July or an opposing blocker in August. Matthews and Perry presumably will start, and returning starter Erik Walden, former starter Zombo and last year's undrafted sensation, Vic So'oto, have experience. Even though they've been moved to the inside, Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore remain in the mix to provide depth. So, there's no guarantee Moses will make the roster, much less make an impact.

However, the Packers need a pass rush and he's got the motor that Greene covets.

"When they tell me to get after the passer, I try to do whatever I can to get to the passer," Moses said. "That's my job and I really try to just work on different things, different techniques, whether it's bull rush or speed rush or counter. You want to work on a certain part of your game every day. Sometimes, the vets really don't like the bull, and I understand that because they've been doing this for a long time, but I have to do it. If Coach tells me in a meeting he wants me to do a certain thing, I'm definitely going to get it done the next day."

The knock on Moses coming out of college was his athleticism. He ran a 4.91 in the 40, according to official numbers provided to Packer Report. Greene, however, prefers substance over style.

"He can hit you in the face and he can make you miss," Greene said.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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