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Merriman charging up San Diego's defense

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2006-06-07-upcoming-lb_x.htm">USA Today</a>

    <img width="287" height="181" alt="Shawne Merriman" title="Shawne Merriman" src="http://www.bolttalk.com/images/merriman04.jpg" />

    By Jim Corbett
    <p class="inside-copy">The linebacker nicknamed "Lights Out" doesn't appear to have an off switch.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">It's the reason why former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason finds an easy choice when asked to name the best outside linebacker and best up-and-comer at the position today.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Shawne Merriman is the best of both," the CBS analyst says. "Cato June had a good year last season for the Colts, and (the Steelers') <a target="_blank" href="http://fantasyfootball.usatoday.com/content/player.asp?sport=NFL&id=653">Joey Porter</a> is a good player. But Merriman is an animal. And after his rookie season, you know he's going to get better."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are eager to see what kind of disruption the 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year can cause after compiling 10 sacks in 10 starts last season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Coach Marty Schottenheimer draws comparisons to a certain Giants Hall of Famer.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I see physical skills in Shawne like a Lawrence Taylor," Schottenheimer says. "Shawne's got the size, and he can run like the wind and has great impact when he hits.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I'm not saying he's Lawrence Taylor. But the physical skills are there."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">ESPN analyst Joe Theismann agrees.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Shawne Merriman is an absolute beast," Theismann says. "Strength, power, speed.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"There will never be another Lawrence Taylor, but the way Merriman flows to the ball reminds me of the innate ability Lawrence had."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">NFL Network analyst Ron Woodson even believes Merriman could set a new standard for outside linebackers: "Shawne Merriman has the potential to revolutionize the game from the linebacker position."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Merriman's double-digit sack total jumps out, but he is still so young with so much more to refine even after proving pretty stout as a run stopper for the league's top-ranked run defense.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Shawne Merriman made the Pro Bowl based on sacks, but he has room to improve as an every-down player," Sports Xchange NFL expert Derek Harper says. "He has the drive and motivation to get better."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Best ever. It's a title Merriman chases with the same abandon he does with the football.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"There's a lot of good linebackers in this league, and I'm out to prove I'm the best," Merriman says. "You have Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Jack Lambert. They are throwbacks who played with a nasty, relentless attitude. That's how I look to play, just nasty and with great passion. I'm really good at getting to the ball and always being relentless.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Big hits are what I'm known for. But the plays I'm proudest of are the plays I made with just my effort."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">He's talking about running Bills quarterback <a target="_blank" href="http://fantasyfootball.usatoday.com/content/player.asp?sport=NFL&id=2780">J.P. Losman</a> down 20 yards past the line of scrimmage or coming from the other side of the field to sack <a target="_blank" href="http://fantasyfootball.usatoday.com/content/player.asp?sport=NFL&id=1493">Peyton Manning</a> in San Diego's Dec. 18 win at Indianapolis that ended the Colts' unbeaten start after 13 wins.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Shawne Merriman signals the coming of a new age," NFL Network analyst Solomon Wilcots says. "He's 6-4, 274, but has the cat-like quickness of a smaller man. He's explosive off the edge as a pass rusher and still has the strength and power to overwhelm bigger offensive tackles.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"He's too good at the point of attack when you run at him and too fast with the way he's able to run down plays going away to the other side. When he fully learns what he's doing, look out. It will not be a fair fight."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That is, as long as he stays motivated.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I don't even have anybody I can compare him to," says Merril Hoge, an ESPN NFL analyst. "He's bigger than Lawrence Taylor. The only worry is that he might start to think the game is too easy, and people start scheming for him. If he can overcome that, he'll be ready to take his game to the next level."</p>

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