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Moss Sees Action In Packers Loss

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Brandon native and former South Dakota State wide receiver Dale Moss finished with one catch for seven yards in his second pre-season game last night, as the Packers lost 35-10 to the Browns in Green Bay.

Earlier this week,  Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, talked with Dale about making the conversion from basketball player to football player.

Talk basketball with a wide receiver on the Green Bay Packers’ roster and you’re bound to be peppered with stories of alley-oops and Kobe-like scoring sprees. Undrafted wide receiver Dale Moss says Tori Gurley and Shaky Smithson do the most talking.

“They say they can take anybody on the team easily,” Moss said, “and that it wouldn’t even be a contest.”

When the trash talking picks up, Moss prefers to “stay quiet, listen to it and laugh.”

That’s because he’s the one that actually played the sport in college.

There aren’t any intense pick-up games going on right around at the team’s gym. In the off-season, Moss will be ready. Of course the former South Dakota State basketball-turned-football standout has to make it to that off-season first. This summer, he’s one of several undrafted rookies trying to beat the odds. Last season, three undrafted rookies made the 53-man roster — S M.D. Jennings, OLB Vic So’oto and OLB (now ILB) Jamari Lattimore.

It’s no secret that general manager Ted Thompson trusts his hunches with rookie free agents. He’ll give them an opportunity.

Who are the candidates this summer? Limited practice time doesn’t help, but the rookies do have three more exhibition games to state their case. Moss — a raw 6-foot-3, 213-pounder — could be an ideal practice-squad player. But he’s not approaching it that way.

“I’m fully going to try to make the roster, definitely,” he said. “I understand a lot is against me just because I’m so new but I believe I can play — and I know athletically that I’m capable of it. I know I can pick up things fast enough to where I can play in the league.”

After four years of basketball and one year of football at South Dakota State, Moss’ receiving skills need to be refined. The nuances of route running take time, take hundreds and hundreds of reps

“As I got more comfortable with the playbook, I was able to add more to my routes,” he said. “I was able to clean up a lot of things but also be deceptive with them. So I feel that has improve a ton and it’s something I worked on in the off-season as well. That has been a transition but I feel like I’ve made big strides already.”

Some basketball players make it in the NFL (see gold standards Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates). Many flame out.

Moss, who had 61 receptions for 949 yards and six touchdowns his lone season with the Jackrabbits, says there are similarities in the two sports that can help him.

“I think it’s just being in traffic and going up to make a play on the ball,” Moss said. “And just shielding people off — especially as a receiver. On some of those routes, in man-to-man coverage, you have to get in front of somebody and box them out. I think some of that comes natural.”

Moss considered playing basketball overseas, but there was some uncertainty there with the NBA lockout. The overseas market could have been flooded with talent, so Moss decided to turn to football.

The exhibition opener highlighted Moss’ potential and challenges. He had three receptions for 29 yards. On one play, he fell down on his route, got up and made the catch along the sideline.

“I was running an out at about 12 yards and I could see the leverage of the defensive back so I tried to give him something at the top and I had him — I got him to bite on it — but I think I tried getting out of that break a little too soon and stumbled,” he said. “I was mad right away because I said, ‘Man, I probably could have scored on this if I made the cut clean.’ I just got up, stayed with it and Graham (Harrell) stayed with me on the play.”

It’s going to be difficult for Moss to make the Packers’ roster with everybody back…and Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel pushing for a spot. Continuing Thursday night, though, all undrafted rookies can get noticed. This is when they can make up ground.

“I’m just trying to do everything I can to make this team and just have a really good preseason to open as many doors for myself that I can,” Moss said. “It’s really an audition for the entire league. I love the Green Bay organization and everything like that and just everything they can so it’s definitely where I want to stay. That’s what I’m shooting for. Down the road, you never know what could happen with preseason and stuff.”

(JSOnline.com)

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