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It's open season on Merriman knee

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Injured Merriman vulnerable, but some foes want to avoid 'bad karma'

    St. Louis Rams center Richie Incognito was like a lot of people who heard the recent news that San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman would play with two torn left knee ligaments this season: Incognito couldn't believe it.



    It wasn't just that Merriman had ignored recommendations by four doctors to have surgery. It was that Incognito knew how much Merriman's life on the field would change.


    "When we played against him, we knew there were certain protection schemes that we just couldn't use because you needed a running back to help block him," Incognito says. "Now you'll see teams doing all kinds of different things to him."


    This isn't news in pro football, a sport in which anybody is fair game if he can suit up on game day. However, what is interesting about Merriman's situation -- even more than a week after he publicly acknowledged the severity of his injury -- is that he really will be a marked man. Forget about his two Pro Bowl appearances and the 39½ sacks he's racked up during his first three NFL seasons. If he can make it through an entire season with a knee that mangled, this will be his most amazing accomplishment as a professional.


    After all, the feeling around the league seems to be that it's open season on Merriman.
    "If I'm on offense, I'm going to run at him on every play and put that knee to the test," says Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Bart Scott.



    "I'm cutting because it's legal. I'm chop-blocking him. I'm making him think about that knee on every play. I know those linemen are going to be trash-talking and cutting at his feet."



    Scott's perspective on this issue is based on one simple fact of life in the NFL -- you'll be exposed if you have any weakness that can be exploited. In Merriman's case, the worst thing he could have done was to talk openly about the damage to his knee. There are plenty of cases in which NFL coaches have been fined for trying to hide injuries on their weekly injury reports. Merriman basically gave his opponents a clear-cut road map to the main pressure point on his body.



    If he hadn't done that, Merriman at least could have prevented other teams from having such an obvious advantage against him. In fact, Miami Dolphins guard Justin Smiley says he once played through most of a season with a dislocated shoulder, mainly because he understood the importance of secrecy.
    "People knew that I had dislocated my shoulder but I didn't really miss any practice time," Smiley says. "So other teams probably didn't think it was that bad when it really was pretty painful. It slipped on me a couple times that year but nobody tried to attack me any differently. I just knew I was going to have to step up my game with my footwork and my hands to overcompensate."



    Merriman's problem is that he won't have the same luxury. His primary role is to come off the edge with an unbridled fury on pass plays and to attack the run as if the ball carrier just slapped his mother. The minute he starts thinking about his knee, that's one more second for a quarterback to throw, one more foot of space for a running back to roam. That also will be one more reason for his fellow Chargers defenders to wonder whether they should make up for whatever he can't do.
    Now that doesn't mean opponents will be salivating at the chance to cripple Merriman.


    Seattle Seahawks guard Mike Wahle says that is not only wrong ethically but also an ineffective way of approaching the game. "You have to acknowledge [the injury] but at the same time, if you start thinking about hurting him -- or going after somebody's knee like that -- then you're probably going to get beat." Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Kwame Harris was even more to the point. He said intentionally trying to hurt somebody in Merriman's situation would be "bad karma."




    What these players also acknowledge is that you can't underestimate an injured opponent. Just ask former Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg. He remembers facing Chicago Bears middle linebacker Dick Butkus toward the end of Butkus' Hall of Fame career, when a gimpy knee had severely limited the star defender.


    Kuechenberg initially had decided to avoid blocking Butkus in the knees because the Dolphins were favored to win easily. "I told myself, 'Nope, I'm not going to do that,'" Kuechenberg says. "I'm going to go high and take him on like a man. The first time I tried that, it wasn't very enjoyable. Every play after that, I was going right for that knee."



    That really is the ultimate lesson that people point to when talking about Merriman these days. Even with an injured knee, the man still has to be considered dangerous. He knows the risks he's taking with his career, and he surely will be far more motivated to prove himself this season. You simply don't gamble like this unless you're certain you can play at a high enough level.



    Of course, the flip side is the reality of the game.
    "This is a league where if you have a bad corner, they will throw the ball 100 times over there until you get that player out of there," Scott says. "You don't think they're going to run the ball at a wounded player?"

    You can bet that Merriman already has factored that information into his thought process. But the question that will be answered in the coming months is how big a price he'll have to pay for the riskiest decision of his brief career.

    Espn.com
     
  2. foober

    foober BoltTalker

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    merriman has to learn to do a head slap to the ear hole of opposing players. That will stop any knee hunting by opposing players.:yes:
     
  3. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    Kwame says he won't go for it and we don't play any of those a-holes this season.
     
  4. EsDee_in_RI

    EsDee_in_RI Well-Known Member

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    I dont think anyone is stupid or low enough to attempt to end someones career...Is there?


    [​IMG]

    Oh I forgot...Albert Haynesworth
     
  5. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    yeppp the ol deacon jones move! the secretary of defense baby!
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Igor can teach him, Just ask Nalen. :lol:
     
  7. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

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    What douche..im glad he's getting the knife:icon_evil:
     
  8. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    yeah- I wish Igor broke his nose so he had to come out of that game but glad karma has caught up with him:yes:
     
  9. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Ask the Broncos and Raiders, besides if any of them do somehow hit Merriman's knee (let alone injure him any more) its going to be absolute open season on that team for a LONG LONG time.
     
  10. EsDee_in_RI

    EsDee_in_RI Well-Known Member

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    Yes....!!!!
     
  11. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    take a page out of dick williams' book.... you throw at our guy and we'll throw at yours.

    If merriman gets hurt, I think we just unleash hell on 1. whoever did it and 2. the star of the other team. Two for one deal. And make sure they know it going in.
     

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