Ex-Gator Moss now a linebacker


Published: Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:13 p.m.

Jarvis Moss has heard it all in Denver. The ex-Gator who was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 17th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft has been labeled a bust by some, while reports swirled about being cut or traded for a low draft pick. This year, however, might be looking a bit brighter.

Broncos rookie head coach Josh McDaniels brings a clean slate and a new position for Moss. McDaniels will employ a 3-4 defense, shifting Moss to outside linebacker.

“It’s a huge transition going from defensive line all of your life to linebacker,” Moss said. “With the outside linebacker position that I am playing we rush a lot. It’s just a matter of getting in my playbook, being open-minded and willing to learn.

“It’s coming to me quick. I’ve learned so much about my position and about the 3-4 defense here. I’m excited. This is something I feel like I could have been doing from the very first day in the NFL.”

In his first two NFL seasons, Moss recorded just 24 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His rookie campaign was cut short due to a broken right shin suffered in practice in week seven.

“I had never broken a bone prior to that injury,” Moss said. “The first thing that crossed my mind was that my ankle was broken. The hardest part was knowing my rookie season was over just like that.”

Moss fully recovered from the injury but still struggled in his sophomore year. After the season, rumors emerged that Moss would either be traded or cut by the Broncos.

“I can only control the things that are within my control,” he said. “That’s just going to work everyday with a positive attitude and just trying to get better while trying to help my team get better.

“Whatever goes on upstairs, that’s what goes on upstairs. I haven’t gone anywhere yet so maybe that’s a sign. The rumors and buzz, you hear that kind of stuff all the time. That’s just apart of the business.”

The move to outside linebacker is a positive one for Moss. His athleticism, rushing skills and speed make him a seemingly perfect fit as a hybrid player.

“I would have to say I like that outside linebacker position better than defensive end,” Moss said. “It is more versatile. I get to compete against wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and the quarterback all at the same time. It’s awesome, man. You get to show your versatility.”

The Broncos are scheduled to begin training camp on July 31.

“When it comes time to put the pads on, I’m going to show the coaches why I was a first-round draft pick,” he said. “I have a little chip on my shoulder to be honest with you. It is totally new here, everything is wide open and there is a lot of competition.”

When asked if he was happy in Denver, Moss simply said that he is just ready to win and contribute to the team.

It has been easy, however, for Moss to keep his head held high with the help of ex-Florida teammate Marcus Thomas, who was no stranger to adversity during his college years but has played his way into Denver’s defensive line rotation. Thomas has 54 total tackles and two interceptions with the Broncos in the last two seasons.

“We usually kick it every day,” Moss said. “He’s been one of my closest friends since we got to Florida.”

Although he is more than 1,700 miles away from Gainesville, Moss often finds himself reminiscing about his Gator ties.

“I think about (the blocked field goal against South Carolina) pretty often,” he said. “I catch all of the games on TV. We’re definitely going to win another national championship this year. I think were going to go undefeated. This year will be the first title undefeated.”

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