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Tag:Shawne Merriman
Posted on: October 25, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Bills Shawne Merriman placed on injured reserve

Posted by Will Brinson

Shawne Merriman's 2011 season is over as he was placed on injured reserve with an Achilles tendon injury, the Bills announced on Tuesday.

Merriman, signed by Buffalo this offseason on a two-year, $10.5 million deal, injured his Achilles tendon again before Week 6's loss to the Giants and didn't play.

"Shawne has worked extremely hard, but unfortunately, his Achilles flared back up and it doesn't appear that he will be able to return to the field anytime soon," Bills general manager Buddy Nix said in a statement released by the team. "So we felt it was in the best interest of our team and for Shawne to put him on IR."

Merriman played in just three games with the Bills in 2010 (Buffalo claimed him off of waivers after the Chargers decided to release him last November) before suffering the same Achilles injury and missing the remainder of the year.

His career's been rocky from the start with Buffalo, as Merriman was injured in his first practice as a Bill and the former superstar only has one sack since switching teams.

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Posted on: September 21, 2011 2:16 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Film Room: Bills vs. Patriots preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



We’ll find out this Sunday just how "for real" the Bills are. It’s one thing to face unfamiliar foes from the iffy AFC West. It’s another to face the perennial bully of your own division. Before we forecast the matchup, let’s use the first four points to understand what these 2-0 teams are all about.

1. Patriots passing attack
The last time New England’s juggernaut offense was hitting on this many cylinders was 2007, when the rest of the NFL had no answer for Randy Moss over the top and Wes Welker underneath. New England runs a much different offense now than in those Josh McDaniels days.

Under McDaniels the Patriots in 2008 went 11-5 with Matt Cassel filling in for the injured Tom Brady. The system still worked because of the unique combination of Moss and Welker. If the Patriots were to lose Brady in their current system, they’d plummet to the middle of the AFC East. Virtually everything New England does is predicated on Brady’s unbelievable ability to diagnose a defense and set his feet before throwing.

Most NFL passing offenses are built on the quarterback anticipating where the receiver is going. The Patriots’ offense is essentially built on Brady seeing where the receiver is going before firing. The reason for this is New England’s heavy use of option routes.

The patterns that Patriot receivers, as well as their sensational young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez (who will miss this game with a knee injury), run often hinge on what the defense does. It’s up to the receiver to correctly assess the coverage – both presnap and on the fly – and choose his route accordingly. This is the premise of an option route.

Because of this, the Patriots don’t look for size and speed at wide receiver; they look for intelligence and precise route running. That’s why Wes Welker and Deion Branch, two classic role players, are stars here. They’re perfect for this system.

Option routes are designed to specifically exploit the weakness of a coverage. The reason other teams don’t run option routes nearly exclusively is because they take a split second longer to unfold, and other teams don’t have a quarterback who can make accurate throws a split second later in the down. Brady happens to have an unmatched ability to square his body and throw soundly with defenders around him.

It’s incredible – the guy has a quick, picturesque release, and you almost never see him throw off-balance. Even other superstars like Rodgers and Brees can’t quickly square up and fire under duress the way Brady can.


2. Buffalo’s quarterback
Since last season, the Bills have been higher on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick than any other team in football. There are rumors that the front office is looking to quickly sign the 28-year-old Harvard alum to a long-term deal before his market value skyrockets.

But how good is Fitzpatrick, really? Most of his supporters tout his grit. Praising a quarterback’s grit is like praising a girl’s personality. Even if the praise is justified and honest, it still feels backhanded because it implies the absence of more obvious (important?) physical attributes.

While Fitzpatrick is no Chad Pennington, he doesn’t have the world’s strongest arm. He can scramble and buy time with his feet, but he’s no Aaron Rodgers. And he reads a defense OK (he was phenomenal recognizing Oakland’s blitzes last week), but he’s no Peyton Manning. Most concerning is his occasionally erratic accuracy. Every game, poor accuracy costs him a few quality completions. And because he’s such a risk-taker, there’s an increased possibility that his inaccuracy translates to interceptions.

Don’t take this as “Fitzpatrick hating”. We only harp on his negatives because, these days, so many are highlighting his positives.

3. Chan Gailey’s adjustment
Even in the shortened offseason, the Buffalo Bills managed to drastically alter their offensive playbook. Prior to the season, we heard that Chan Gailey (who runs the offense) and Curtis Modkins (who coordinates the offense) would implement more spread formations. A lot of teams talk abot spreading out and being more aggressive, but the Bills have actually done it.

This is somewhat surprising because the Bills, especially after dumping Lee Evans, don’t seem to have the receiving personnel for this. None of their wideouts other than Roscoe Parrish – who is out for the season with an ankle injury – have great speed. And all of them are young.

However, through two games, Buffalo’s spread approach has worked marvelously. Stevie Johnson’s improvement as a route runner (he gets open late in his patterns extremely well) has compensated for his middling speed and made him a veritable No. 1 target. David Nelson, who’s a lanky 6’5” and has a newfound comfort for hauling in passes, has been a matchup nightmare both inside and out.

Donald Jones offers decent quickness off the line of scrimmage, and Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller (who, by the way, are both running with outstanding fluidity, especially on the perimeter) are capable of flanking out, which gives the Bills formation flexibility in their personnel packages.

Tip your cap to the historically power-run oriented Gailey for recognizing the direction that the NFL is going in and, at age 59, adjusting his philosophy accordingly.

4. The defenses: 4-3 or 3-4?
Both teams have run hybrid 3-4-slash-4-3 defense in recent years, not because they have versatile players or schemes but because they’ve been without a quality pass-rusher and have looked for creative (i.e. desperate) ways to manufacture pressure on the quarterback.

As it stands, neither team still has a quality rusher. Knee injuries have robbed Shawne Merriman of his burst and direction-changing ability. Merriman still has decent power, but without the movement prowess, he’s a shell of his former self. Opposite him, Chris Kelsay, though playing faster than usual this season, is not consistently dynamic. In New England, Bill Belichick is hoping elder newcomers like Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter can skim the edges on third down.

Despite feeble pass-rushing resources, both teams’ 3-4/4-3 ambiguity appears to be gone this season. Both made personnel moves that suggest a commitment to one system. The Bills spent the No. 3 overall draft pick on Marcel Dareus, a classic 3-4 end. So far, Dareus has shown intriguing power in shedding blocks, both laterally and in penetration. The Patriots traded for Albert Haynesworth, a classic one-gap tackle (just ask him) and have settled into a 4-3.

So far, Haynesworth has been a monster, but only in sub-packages. He must improve his endurance if he wants to be an everydown player like Vince Wilfork.

5. The Bills’ prayer
Do they have one this Sunday? They won’t be able to get pressure on Brady, so their best bet is to play coverage and hope for a timely turnover or two. That will be tough, though, as No. 1 corner Terrence McGee is out and his replacement, Leodis McKelvin, has struggled in man coverage.

Also, strong safety George Wilson, while stout in the box, is a slow runner with limited coverage skills. The Raiders took advantage of this with screen passes and underneath passing routes last week; the Patriots, with Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead, will have no trouble doing the same.

Thus, it’s on the Bills offense to control the tempo and shorten the game. Buffalo’s front five, coached by Joe D'Alessandris, has been phenomenal through two weeks. Center Eric Wood has the run-blocking movement skills of a Pro Bowler, while left tackle Demetrius Bell (whom yours truly has been very hard on the past few years) has shown good awareness and improved mechanics in pass protection.

A good front line is key to having a sustainable offense. But unless the Bills can work some magic on special teams, they won’t need a sustainable offense to have a chance Sunday…they’ll need a perfect one.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games.


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 9:31 pm
 

Merriman denies he was caught with steroids

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Earlier today, a blog post by a writer in Buffalo accused Bills LB Shawne Merriman of carrying steroids across the U.S.-Canada border and wrote that Merriman subsequently was picked up by customs officials but not arrested.

On Thursday evening, Merriman denied the charge.

Wrote Merriman on his Twitter account: “To answer your question guys im disappointed by a story that was written by a Buffalo writer regarding a routine stop at the Canadian border a few weeks ago. To clarify, there was … Absolutely NO steroids found in my vehicle & there were NO charges against me. I've received a great welcome by the community and fans. I've worked my butt off to have a great season.”

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.7.11: Redskins don't want Clausen



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL)
  • CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman thinks "a handshake agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement will happen next week, not on Thursday or Friday." Either way, that's welcome news.  

  • ESPN.com's Matt Williamson thinks Shawne Merriman "is done." In that sense, he should complement former Bills first-rounder Aaron Maybin nicely.
  • Redskins QB update via CSNWashington.com blogger Rich Tandler: "I would say there is zero chance that the Redskins are interested in [Jimmy] Clausen. Think they would rather go with who they have." Washington should subscribe to the addition-by-subtraction personnel philosophy more often.
  • We thought this went without saying since the Broncos spent a first-round pick on Tim Tebow a year ago, but the team has no interest in a poor man's Tebow, aka Terrelle Pryor.
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Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 4:12 pm
 

Chargers GM talks Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Chargers general manager AJ Smith is known as much for his ability to identify talent and assemble a roster as he is for his sometimes stubborn disposition.

He refused to give wide receiver Vincent Jackson a new contract last offseason, and Jackson ended up holding out for the first two months of the season. When Jackson finally returned in Week 12 (he had to first serve a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy), it was without a new contract but the Chargers were 6-5. They would eventually miss the playoffs, and although most of that was because of their dreadful defense special teams, Jackson's absence certainly didn't help.

(Edit: the commenters rightly point out that it was special teams -- not the defense -- that cost the Chargers a shot at the playoffs last season. My brain was thinking "special teams" but my fingers typed "defense." To hammer home the point, Football Outsiders ranked San Diego offense fourth, their defense seventh, and special teams ... 32nd.)

In 2005, Smith placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on the "roster exempt" list for the season opener against the Cowboys because Gates wouldn't sign his one-year exclusive rights free-agent offer of $380,000. The two sides eventually came to a resolution but not before San Diego lost to Dallas. The most famous example of Smith vs. uncooperative Chargers player came the year before, when the team selected Eli Manning with the first-overall pick of the 2004 draft even though Manning said he'd rather sit out the season than play in San Diego.

Smith, undeterred, drafted Manning anyway. About an hour after Manning stood on stage with that "Did this really just happen?" look on his face while holding a Chargers jersey, Smith traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers, and draft picks that would later become Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding and Roman Oben.

Despite the Chargers getting the most out of that trade, all most people remember is that Manning and the Giants won a Super Bowl in 2007. In a recent interview with Sporting News, Smith talked about Rivers and Manning. 

"I believe with my heart and soul that [Rivers] one day will lead the Chargers to a world championship," Smith said. “He’s a great quarterback—a phenomenal leader with great character, great work habits.”

No one disputes that. In fact, Football Outsiders ranked Rivers as the NFL's third-best quarterback in 2010, behind Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Eli ranked 16th, behind Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. If nothing else, it reinforces the importance of surrounding your franchise quarterback with playmakers at the skill position and a good defense.

As for how Smith feels about Manning seven years after drafting him … well, let's just say he's still a little bitter. "He was a Charger for 45 minutes and that was too much time to be a Charger, in my opinion."

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Buffalo Bills

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

S. Johnson had some good moments last year for Buffalo (US Presswire).

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:




Although the Bills went 4-12 last season and were never in contention for any kind of postseason berth, there was reason for optimism at the end of last year. Against all previous indications, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t half-bad, young faces like RB C.J. Spiller and WR Steve Johnson showed potential, and the team took the Steelers, Chiefs and Ravens into overtime before eventually losing.

The head coaching abilities of Chan Gailey – in college or in the NFL – have never been that impressive to me, but I’d be an idiot if I didn’t say that he is making progress in Buffalo. Progress enough to compete with the rest of the AFC East? Not yet. But any kind of progress is good.




Very little elite talent

This obviously is a problem, because, aside from NT Kyle Williams – who’s a top-five interior defensive lineman – the Bills don’t feature any elite players (maybe S Jairus Byrd can get there at some point). With the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft, that should change (you’d like to think so at least, if you’re a Bills fan). But remember, Buffalo went with Aaron Maybin with the No. 11 pick in 2009 and Leodis McKelvin with the No. 11 pick in 2008. Apparently, this franchise doesn’t always know how to pick the elite guys.



1. QUARTERBACK
While Fitzpatrick did a decent enough job at the starting spot last year, after Trent Edwards thoroughly failed at it and Brian Brohm didn’t do enough to win it, Fitzpatrick doesn’t scream, “FUTURE FRANCHISE QB.” Since the Bills have the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, it makes sense for them to take somebody who could make that claim. Considering GM Buddy Nix said that now is the perfect time to draft a QB, Buffalo might just do it.

2. LINEBACKERS
Buffalo needs to shore up its 3-4 defense in a big way and procure players who can figure out how to get to the opposing quarterback. The Bills – who were tied for 27th in sacks last year – already have Shawne Merriman and Aaron Maybin at OLB, but it’s unclear if the former can stay healthy and the latter has been a big draft bust thus far in his career. Von Miller’s elite speed certainly would help in the linebacker corps.

3. DEFENSIVE LINE
The Bills were the worst team in football at stopping the run, so this spot obviously is in need of an upgrade. The line itself seems to be OK with Kyle Williams and Dwan Edwards, but a Da’Quan Bowers pick wouldn’t be shocking (though many experts are predicting Miller).




The Bills are still nowhere near making a bid for the playoffs, but there’s no reason they can’t improve on last year’s record. I think 8-8 would be a stretch – especially if Fitzpatrick is back at the QB spot – but 6-10 or 7-9 wouldn’t be out of the question. And it would be a sign of more progress.

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Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:47 pm
 

Hot Routes 01.11.11: Polian, Caldwell not jiving?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Jim Caldwell called a really dumb timeout against the Jets. It might have cost his team a chance to continue advancing in the playoffs. But Bill Polian doesn't think so, and he called the timeout a "moot point" on his radio show Monday, according to Big Blue Shoe at Stampede Blue. More interesting though -- Polian offered a different reason for the timeout -- he said the defense was trying to get set. That's certainly more rational than Caldwell's "we wanted to make them snap the ball" excuse, but then Polian apparently went off on a tangent about how he thought the Colts were done after Antonio Cromartie's return, barring an interception, fumble or sack. Which, um, well, no -- Nick Folk needed a 50-plus-yard field goal to win before the deep ball to Braylon Edwards. So, yeah, this timeout thing's getting awkward.
  • Speaking of awkward head coaches, Wade Phillips thinks he's probably done as a head coach, because of "perception." Which is actually a good point, because Wade's 82-61 as a head coach, and yet people think he's a goof, mainly because of his 1-5 playoff record. Poor Wade.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:08 pm
 

A $4 million payday for Merriman

S. Merriman won a $4 million judgment against two former Duke basketball players. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

At some point, you just have to hand it to Bills LB Shawne Merriman. Give that man the credit, because quite simply, the dude knows how to get paid.

He sat out most of the 2010 season, after missing much of the Chargers training camp because of a holdout and then an injury. But still, he managed to hook up with the Bills, with whom he practiced once before getting injured again. Somehow, Buffalo signed him to a two-year extension that could be worth up to $9 million.

And today, there comes word, via ESPN’s Tim Graham, that Merriman will deposit another $4 million in his bank account, courtesy of former Duke basketball stars Christian Laettner and Brian Davis.

Apparently, Merriman loaned Laettner and Davis $3 million in 2007 for a real estate venture, but two years later, they defaulted on their loan. Merriman took them to court, and now, Merriman’s representatives say a federal court has awarded Merriman $4 million.

"Shawne Merriman trusted Laettner and Davis to repay the millions they borrowed from him for their businesses," Merriman's attorney, Marc Kasowitz, said in the statement. "During the past two years, they first denied they owed the money and then made false promises they would repay Shawne. We are pleased that the federal court has vindicated Shawne's rights and is compelling Laettner and Davis to fulfill their obligations."

The lesson here, of course, is an easy one: do not bet against – or default on a loan to – Shawne Merriman. Because he will make you pay.

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Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com