Gut Reactions

Immediate analysis of NFL games and news

Gut Reaction: Deron Mayo

To find a future star in the NFL among undrafted rookie free agents, you could do a lot worse than looking for three things:

1) Speed

2) Speed

3) A brother with speed, who was also Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008.

Deron Mayo may be undersized for the NFL. He's listed at 5-11 and 220 pounds.  That's why teams shied away from him in the draft.  However, like his famous brother, he brings quickness and speed.  Deron is actually faster than his older brother, and runs (by some accounts) a sub-4.4 forty-yard dash.  He's a tweener DE/OLB, who many thought would have been a good fit as a 3-4 OLB after adding a few pounds.   In fact, he had this to say recently:

People like (Denver’s) Elvis Dumervil and (Pittsburgh’s) James Harrison definitely give me hope.  I’m 5-11. I look at people like that and it gives me a lot of motivation. It’s all about learning the game. I feel like I can rush the passer from the edge. It’s just a matter of a coach or a team taking a chance on me, which I know will pay off.

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Gut Reaction: Mario Fannin

John Fox likes versatility in his running back combinations.   

Enter Mario Fannin.  

Fannin was Auburn's third-string running back last year.  Despite this, he was projected by some to be drafted as high as the 5th round in this year's draft.

Why?  Fannin set the building on fire at the combine with a 4.37 40-yard dash and a 37.5-inch vertical jump.  Those are numbers that Knowshon Moreno would have killed for at his combine. 

Fannin left little doubt that he's a world-class athlete by those measures.  He's also a master of catching the ball out of the backfield and has a knack for the YAC (yards after catch).

If Fannin makes the Broncos' roster, it won't be because of his running ability.  His field vision after getting the handoff has always been his weakest attribute.  It will be because Denver needs a weapon on 3rd-down-and-medium.

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Symphony of Destruction - Perrish Cox, Demaryius Thomas, and Cassius Vaughn

If the NFL was a game of Monopoly, yesterday Perrish Cox pulled the Go To Jail card.

Do not pass Dove Valley.  Do not collect $405,000.  

In this game, you can't roll doubles, nor can you purchase (for any amount of money) a Get Out Of Jail Free card from Demaryius Thomas or Cassius Vaughn.  They are too busy looking for cover.

Cox is easy pickins, Broncos fans.  You'll see dozens of columns over the next month criticizing his character and his integrity.  Further, you'll hear a lot of pundits play the I told you so card.  And that's just fine.  Fans aren't required to withhold judgement until all the facts are in.  While Cox is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, as a member of the Denver Broncos, the story told in the arrest warrent is easily enough for the fans and the Broncos to run him out of town.

Roger Goodell won't be distracted by the law.  If Cox is guilty, he's in jail; if he's not, Goodell is likely to suspend him for at least six games (Roethlisberger style).   

I'm guessing that right now, John Elway could care less how well Perrish Cox plays man coverage.

He can't cover it as a member of the Denver Broncos.

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Gut Reaction: Eighth Circuit grants stay of lockout injunction

The Eighth Circuit today granted the NFL's request for a stay, by a 2-1 majority.  In the accompanying opinion, the two concurring judges disagreed with Judge Susan Nelson's ruling that this situation was a labor dispute, and not a matter of litigation.

They went so far as to say that the NFL was likely to prevail in their appeal, which will likely occur in June.

The Court, as the NFL had openly hoped, voted along partisan lines and delivered a pro-business ruling.  Frankly, the merits of the Court's comments don't make a lot of sense to me.

The majority completely ignored the fact that the NFL agreed not to pursue a claim of a sham decertification in 1992.  The NFL wanted the NFLPA to recertify at that time, so that they'd be afforded the antitrust protection of a non-statutory labor exemption, which we've been all through here at IAOFM.

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Gut Reaction: Broncos picks on film, late rounds

Another round of YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure--without a defensive tackle.

I'll reserve total judgment until the free agency period ends, but the biggest beneficiaries of this year's draft were Ryan McBean abd Kevin Vickerson.

These videos feature Quinton Carter, Julius Thomas, Mike Mohamed, Virgil Green, and Jeremy Beal.

If you haven't yet checked out our videos from the first three rounds, you can catch them here.

Again, I've kept my commentary to a minimum because pretending to be Mel Kiper is both exhausting and ridiculous.

I also refuse to grade a draft of 23-year-old players in a few hours.  

What do you think of the new Broncos?

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Gut Reaction: Broncos picks on film

You've probably seen highlight reels of the Broncos' draft picks on ESPN or NFL Network.  While highlight reels are fun to watch, they rarely tell the story of a draft pick. 

So I decided to hit YouTube for some actual tape of all of the picks and put them into one place.

I hope you enjoy.

I've tried to keep my own commentary to a minimum.  As you can see from our Chewing the Fat series in the last day, I really have been disappointed in the Broncos for not addressing the defensive line.  But the truth is, trying to pass judgment on a draft immediately is somewhat foolish (albeit great fun).  We are talking about 23-year-old kids here.  It's impossible to know how these picks are going to pan out.  Further, as fans, we simply aren't privy to what went on during workouts with the Broncos.  Marvin Austin's workout and interview may have told the Broncos more than any tape possibly could.  

Do I wish the Broncos were sitting wtih Marvin Austin and Stephen Paea on their roster tonight? Absolutely.

Could the Broncos have done the right thing by passing on them? You bet.  

Half the fun will be finding out.

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Gut Reaction: Injunction granted

UPDATED 8:32PM ET - This is really big news, but it's definitely no surprise, which you know if you've been rolling with us.  All along, it's been pretty clear that the law was on the players' side.  A union can decertify if it wants to, and you can't lock out a non-organized labor force.  Individuals are free to file suit, where a union can't, and that's the vehicle through which a new CBA is going to be eventually reached.

I am a little bit surprised that Judge Susan Nelson declined to grant a stay, pending appeal.  That indicates that she considers the probability of her decision being overturned to be low, but often, if a stay is requested for a timely appeal, it is granted.

The 8th Circuit could stay the decision, and to me, as a chaos-averse fan, it would be preferable.  In a stay, the lockout would effectively continue for a while, until the Appeals court can rule.  If they agree with Judge Nelson, which is likely, it's game over for the lockout.  It's virtually certain that the Supreme Court isn't going to hear this case.

The reason that a stay is probably preferable for a fan is because if there's no stay, the owners will be ordered to impose rules and get back to business.  Say they're required to begin a new league year by May 1st.  A bunch of free agents get signed, and then the 8th Circuit overturns Nelson's ruling.  What then?  Are there take-backs on those signings?  It'd get pretty chaotic.

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Brandon Marshall sure is a clumsy fellow

Ever have an argument with the missus and accidently slip and shatter a glass vase?

Happens all the time, right?  

Brandon Marshall is particularly susceptible to slipping, despite being freakishly athletic.  He just can't stop falling into glass.  First it was a slippery McDonald's bag.  Late last night, after a profound discussion about John Rawls' Theory of Justice heated argument with his wife, he got all klutzy again.  Unfortunately for the receiver known as The Beast, authorities had other ideas.  From the Palm Beach Post:

Marshall was hospitalized last night and sent to the intensive care unit after being stabbed. According to a Broward County Sheriff’s arrest report, Nogami-Marshall said she stabbed Marshall in the abdomen with a kitchen knife out of self defense....Marshall initially tried to shield his wife from responsibility. When officers arrived at his Southwest Ranches home around 7:40 p.m., Marshall said in a sworn statement that the injury occurred when he slipped and fell on a broken glass vase. But officers did not find any blood in the immediate area to substantiate his claim.

Adam Schefter reported that Marshall's wife happened to miss his vital organs, so the wideout is expected to make a full recovery.

We can all be thankful for that, and, of course, for Marshall's attempt to "shield" his wife.  

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Gut Reaction - Opening Day

When your weekly column coincides with the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, you might as well be writing the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner for all it's worth:

Baseball, baseball, everywhere, and Roger Goodell did shrink.

Baseball, baseball, everywhere, nor a CBA to drink.

If you skipped your last two years of eligibility in order to declare for the NFL Draft (or you wear a silver and black thong), you may not get these two lines.  I don't blame you; you've bigger fish to fry.  In the case of the thong, I'm talking dirty laundry, holmes.

We'll leave the laundry for another day.  It's a day to focus on baseball.

So let me get right to the point: baseball is for total weenies.

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Gut Reaction: Decertification

When the NFLPA decertified at 5 PM, they made it highly unlikely that there is any meaningful lockout this season.  This is being widely misunderstood and misreported by the mainstream football media, but it allows the players to sue to in order to block an owner-imposed lockout.  They’ll also file a bunch of  specific suits alleging violations of antitrust laws, in the absence of a CBA.

The players are going to eventually win those lawsuits, in the face of clear and established antitrust law, and they’re going to eventually wind up with a better situation than they could have with continued negotiations.  The NFL was intransigent, and was determined to lock out the players and pressure them into major concessions.  David Doty's recent ruling that the NFL acted in bad faith in negotiating the payment of television fees even in the case of a work stoppage took away all of their leverage for the war of attrition which they were planning.

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