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Merriman a disrupting force

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Meager statistics mask how well injury-riddled Shawne Merriman has played for the Chargers this season

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    By Kevin Acee, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    Friday, January 1, 2010

    SAN DIEGO – One play.
    That is called disrupting a game plan if not a game.
    One running play is all the Tennessee Titans ran in Shawne Merriman’s direction on Christmas night.
    Granted, Merriman was in for just 29 snaps, owing to the plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
    Nonetheless, that is called respect. That is knowing what is good for you. That is knowing who is (still) good.
    “The thing that’s amazing, if you put on the tape and really study what he does for us, the guy is having a solid football year,” defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said. “He really is. He doesn’t have the sack numbers everybody thinks is indicative of playing well.”
    With four sacks — none since injuring his foot Nov. 8 at New York — Merriman is widely viewed as having an off year. And, certainly, he is not the player that terrorized quarterbacks much of his first three seasons in the league. His 39½ sacks from 2005-08 are the second-most in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons.
    But when he plays — only for spurts the two games before the Tennessee contest — he has been a big part of why the Chargers defense is ranked 15th in the NFL, 10 spots better than where it finished last season. The Chargers also have six more sacks than they did in 2008.
    While it isn’t Merriman getting those sacks, he is taking up offensive resources, altering the way teams attack the Chargers and chasing down ballcarriers from the opposite side of the field.
    “I wouldn’t take the field if I wasn’t effective,” Merriman said. “Last time I checked, I don’t know where we finished up on defense last year, but I’m sure it’s two times better than it was. I’m sure we’re playing at a higher level on defense. … People are trying to exclude me — ‘He’s not playing well.’ Well, why are they playing well on defense then?”
    Merriman and the Chargers believe that by the time they play a meaningful game again, his contributions will be even more evident.
    It appears that a number of players with various maladies will be rested in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins, and it is likely that most starters will watch the second half from the sideline.
    No one will find the rest more beneficial than Merriman.
    After Sunday and perhaps even not working next week, Merriman and the Chargers figure the playoffs will truly be a second season for him.
    Merriman has played the past two months on borrowed time. With each passing minute of a game, he loses a little of his burst, the pain increases and he is less effective.
    “I think he’ll play further into games,” Rivera said. “The explosiveness will stay with him longer.”
    After missing the final 16 games of 2008 following major knee surgery, Merriman nursed various maladies (knee and hip, primarily) through training camp. He aggravated the groin injury in the second game and was hampered until the season’s fifth week.
    He played his best all-around game at Kansas City the next week, got his first two sacks the week after that against Oakland and two more at New York.
    But, compensating for his still-not-right groin in that game against the Giants, Merriman tore his plantar fascia (essentially the arch of his foot).
    He has played all but one Sunday since, with help from painkilling shots. He sat out Dec. 6 at Cleveland, partly because the pain was so great and partly because it was the last game the Chargers could afford to have him out before the three-game run through Dallas, Cincinnati and Tennessee and successful clinching of the No. 2 seed for the playoffs.
    “We’ve been in a position where I had to go,” Merriman said.
    No more, at least not this weekend.
    And by the time he plays again, Merriman is thinking that he will be close to 100 percent, even approaching the player he was before hurting his knee more than two years ago.
    “Oh yeah,” he said. “… We’ve still got the playoffs.”
     
  2. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

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    Merriman, meh.....

    Jury out until fully healthy.

    18 and 6 since Rivera got promoted to DC now that is something. :tup:
     
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  3. Workplay

    Workplay scompl

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    The more healthy players the better. We're going to need as much great play as possible against Brady and Manning.
     
  4. Altomb

    Altomb BoltTalker

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    We just need to figure out how to get Tila's face on Manning's jersey.:icon_toast:
     

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