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Can Chargers get to Favre with Merriman out?

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Perhaps a refresher course in sacks education is needed

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    The NFL is all about quarterbacks. It's about the quarterback getting you and you getting him. He's the focal point, the planet around which the other 21 moons revolve. Left to his own devices, he's going to beat you, and he doesn't have to be Elway, Unitas or Montana. All he needs is a clue.
    Think about it. Most of these guys have been throwing footballs since they first soiled their diapers. Even the worst among them can heave it straight now and then when they aren't bothered by big men trying to do an unscheduled vasectomy.
    Over the past two years, the Chargers have been very good at attacking opposing quarterbacks. In 2006, when they went 14-2, they led The League with 61 sacks. A year ago, they went 11-5 and had 42.
    This year they're 0-2. They have two sacks (one is of the team variety), and the quarterbacks they've faced – Carolina's Jake Delhomme and Denver's Jay Cutler – are not cold cuts. Forget about the officiating. The Chargers were smoked by those quarterbacks, who mostly had time to sit back there, darn their socks and think about what crazy name they're going to give their next child.
    Tonight the Chargers play host to Brett Favre and the New York Jets. Favre is like a Chinese gymnast. Nobody seems to know how old he really is. But he bathes his arm daily in Ponce De Leon's fountain. Given time, he will shoot you full of more holes than they found in Bonnie and Clyde.
    I recall that last season, while toiling for Green Bay, Favre, not much younger then, went for 369 yards and three touchdowns and wasn't picked in the Packers' 31-24 upset of San Diego. So now we only can ask ourselves if the Chargers are up to going after this fearless gunner while their greatest defensive weapon is in the shop for repair.
    Because, if this soft approach persists, San Diego's season is going to be longer than a Wagnerian opera – and maybe even harder to understand. Which brings me to Shawne Merriman. Which brings me to the value of Shawne Merriman, the weapon.
    It seems ridiculous, but the Chargers are prepared not to re-sign their outside linebacker, the face of their defense, when his contract expires after the 2009 season. Quarterback Philip Rivers, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and left tackle Marcus McNeill's deals also expire then.
    So what?
    Merriman is out now, following knee surgery, but if this defense continues on a sack-per-game pace, the franchise must re-evaluate what it has and what it must do.
    I don't care if Merriman's gone Hollywood, if his agent is Tom Condon or Baby Snooks, or if his sophomore replacement, Jyles Tucker, is so full of promise he's been made a rich kid. Football is not a game of promises. Opponents must prepare for Merriman, whose promise is fulfilled. Even while on one leg against Carolina, we saw flashes of brilliance from him.
    Last Monday, during his eulogy following the loss at Denver, coach Norv Turner was asked how much it hurts not having Merriman around. He wasn't pleased, saying:
    "That's an impossible question to answer and I'm not going to answer it every week."
    Well, Turner, who probably still had zebra Ed "Whistler's Father" Hochuli on the brain, didn't answer it last week, either.
    "It's a waste of my time and your time."
    It's the old Don Coryell thing. "I can only coach the players I have," Coryell often said, and he was right. Merriman's out. That's it. You move on from Hochuli, you move on without Merriman.
    But it's not a waste of our time to wonder aloud if Merriman's loss is going to turn a defense that, bad enough, has had trouble against the run all summer, into a vanilla wafer.
    Shaun Phillips, Merriman's bookend on the other side, is a dynamic pass rusher, but without his buddy around to gather attention, he hasn't been nearly as effective. He had 8 1/2 sacks last year, Merriman 12 1/2. Thus far, Phillips has been shut out. He's been double-teamed before, but there's more of it now.
    "It's always a challenge without Shawne," Phillips says. "He was theguy who pushed me. He was the best on the field and off the field. We were in competition – not ugly competition. It's tough. It's the NFL. I wouldn't want to do it if it wasn't tough.
    "Even when Shawne wasn't here, I was doubled sometimes. I've got to make plays. I hold myself responsible. We're not playing horrible. It's an array of things and they're correctable. We've got to start pushing the pedal. Teams are protecting. But, I agree; we haven't found our swag. We're close. We're inches away. Making plays is like winning. It's a habit."
    As outside linebackers coach John Pagano puts it: "The good thing is that we've been so close to sacks. It's hard to assess after two games."
    It's easier after 16, which will be simple if one of the most feared pass rushes in football continues to be neutralized. The Chargers will have missed Shawne Merriman.
    At this point, to even consider missing him after 2009 is ludicrous. If they can do without him, show us something.

  2. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

    Jul 22, 2007
    I wonder how all the other teams in league who have more than one sack per game manage without Shawne Merriman?

    Fat Teddy, this is your problem, not Shawne Merriman's.
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    I'm not minimizing Shawne's loss at all, but if we scheme properly we can overcome our lack of QB pressure.

    As Enormo said, that's Fat Teddy's problem to solve. IMO, he's the biggest thing holding us back right now.
  4. HughC

    HughC BoltTalker

    May 3, 2008
    Need to contain him and keep him from buying time while rolling out. Get some pressure on him and get him to throw a few of his infamous high fly balls.
  5. Gridreaper

    Gridreaper BoltTalker

    Jan 19, 2008
    ...:icon_rofl: Let's clone Philly's Jimmie Johnson :yes: Now that's a DC, just ask Big Ben!!

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