A year ago the Bills needed Shawne Merriman to play like the guy who was “lights out” in San Diego. Now they just need Merriman to be a situational pass rusher and that seems more realistic.
Couple that new role with off season surgery to repair an Achilles injury and Bills fans might finally see the 28 year old Merriman make it through an entire season in Buffalo.
Merriman has looked good to this point at training camp but the same can be said about last year’s camp when he was one of the stars of St. John Fisher.
It carried into the pre-season but Merriman eventually broke down after five games and was placed on season ending injured reserve.
The Washington D.C. native opted for the Achilles procedure after trying the non- surgical route in the past and he says this is the best he’s felt in three years.
“I can explode and come off the ball for one and I’m not worried about getting injured” Merriman said during an appearance on the WGR Morning Show on Monday. “When you’re playing that way and worried about something possibly could happen if you do a certain thing, you can’t play. There’s no way to compete like that and I wasn’t competing for those years.”
Merriman had an eye popping 39 ½ sacks in 42 games over his first three seasons in San Diego. Over the last four years with the Chargers and Bills, he’s recorded a mere six sacks in only 23 games played.
Merriman is expected to play in Thursday’s pre-season opener against the Washington Redskins at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
But he’ll be in a new position and asked to do less. Merriman has shifted from outside linebacker to defensive end and has been playing on the second string line in camp.
Head Coach Chan Gailey has said if they can get 20 great pass rushes a game from Merriman it would be “super” for the Bills. The 6’4” 261 pound Merriman has no problem with the reduced on field responsibility.
“That’s what they need me to do. Obviously we have four guys on the end who can play” Merriman said. “If you look around the league now, including the Giants who won the Super Bowl, if that’s what it takes to win a Super Bowl and that’s what it takes to get us better as a team, then I’m okay with that.”
Here is the entire interview with Shawne Merriman: