Winston Moss is a pep talk waiting to happen.
“I’m like that guy that you cuff down until you need me. I go berserk and then you just put me back in a box until you need me again,” Moss joked in describing his affection for expressing his fire for the game of football.
Need someone to speak to the team? Call Moss. Need someone to voice-over an emotion-choked video? Moss is your man.
What’s the title? Moss was asked.
“It doesn’t have one. What would you call it?” he said.
The reporter thought about the video he had just watched, and the deep, resonant voice that punctuated it.
It doesn’t need a title, the reporter said.
Make no mistake about it, motivation is Moss’ game. He loves to reach into his players’ heart and find fire they didn’t know they had.
“There are times I express myself in a very strong manner; the sideline, the meeting room. It’s not done for effect. It’s done from my heart,” Moss said.
At 45, Moss is in the prime of his get-a-head-coaching-job years. This is when it happens and he wants it to happen. He has a burning desire to be a head coach. It’s an appetite that’s been wetted by four years as Mike McCarthy’s assistant head coach.
“Based on what I’ve done so far, the word should’ve gotten out by now and more people should be aware of the name,” he said, frustration apparent in his voice.
Following the 2008 season, McCarthy cleaned out his whole defensive staff and rebuilt it after hiring Dom Capers as the Packers’ defensive coordinator. Moss was temporarily out of a job and he was interviewed by the Rams and the Raiders for vacant head coaching positions. Soon after, he was re-hired by McCarthy to remain the Packers’ assistant head coach.
“Based on what happened on the defensive side of the ball, I felt there was merit in letting us all go,” Moss said. “I’ve always thought my deeds, not my words, would carry me forward.”
They did. Now, how far is forward?
“I’m totally comfortable with where I am right now. I’m truly not in this for the fame. I’m in this for something bigger. I’m in this for the legacy,” he said.
This is not your standard, run-of-the-mill, looking-to-get-ahead assistant coach. Moss is a guy who burns with ambition, and it doesn’t hurt his ability to sell his passion for the game that he remains the same imposing figure he was as a player. He’s the kind of guy to whom you listen.
“I love the psychology part of it. I love to be able to push the button. It’s always been to try to get them to develop and get them to grow, and for them to become leaders,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to be passionate.”
Head coaches will tell you that every staff needs a Moss, which is to say someone who can identify with the players on game day. He feels what they feel. He can talk the talk, after years of having walked the walk.
“To see the true, raw emotion that comes from a player after he makes a play, I truly respect the player that, when he achieves something, can express his passion. That true, passionate expression, I really love that. ESPN, FOX, all those networks, they don’t show the guy handing the ball back to the official. They show the guy that’s passionate. I love it. I have passion at the highest level,” Moss said.
When Aaron Kampman was a defensive end for the Packers, Moss used a video called the “Trombone Dancer” to loosen up Kampman and teach him a sack dance. Moss once used a mixed martial arts video to rev up the troops.
“When I showed that, you could hear a pin drop,” he said.
It shouldn’t be ignored that Moss has also done a good job of coaching the Packers’ inside linebackers. The development of young linebacker Desmond Bishop is especially noteworthy.
“The inside linebackers have the chance to be productive from a tackles and leadership standpoint. Our table is set with the outside linebackers, but if you choose to take those guys away, you’re going to die another death with our inside linebackers,” Moss said proudly.
He hopes someone notices.