Posts Tagged ‘Shawne Merriman’

Dante Rosario's catch silences the Charger faithfull in week 1 (photo by AP)

Dante Rosario silences the Charger fans in week 1 (Photo by AP)

With just one game gone in the season it’s hard to tell who are the contenders and who are the dead-enders.

It was a really wild start to the season for both the London bound teams and the ideal way to begin my series of weekly updates on the London bound New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers.

At Qualcomm stadium you could have heard a pin drop when Jake Delhomme took a rather high snap, avoided the pass rush pump faked and then hit Dante Rosarioin the endzone as the Carolina Panthers stole a 26-24 win against the Chargers in California.

Elsewhere in Louisiana Saints linebacker Scott Fujita grabbed a bullet pass from Jeff Garcia in the final minute of the game to seal a tough 24-20 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Notes about the Chargers

♣ Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman had just two tackles and failed to get to Jake Delhomme

♣ 3rd round rookie Jacob Hester did not touch the ball – Ill keep everyone updated. The other lesser known rookie fullback Mike Tolbert did have an impressive start with 3 runs for 6 yards and 3 catches for 35 yards and two first downs

My Week 1 grade – Offense B, Defense C, Special Teams C

Notes about the Saints

♥ Deuce McAllister did not play, and without his bruising style the Saints running back combo of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas failed to make a big impression on the ground. Reggie Bush did have a fantastic game with 8 catches for 112 yards and a score. Lets face it Bush can catch dink and dunk passes all day long and just kill teams – he could catch 150 passes legitimately in a single season.

My Week 1 grade – Offense A-, Defense C, Special Teams C

In summary both teams showed that they can compete, but they will win games with their offense more than their defense. With 7 weeks until Wembley I cannot wait.

What was YOUR first impression of the Chargers and the Saints in Week 1? ……………….

Lights Out is heading to Wembley - Pic by Doug Pensinger, Getty Images North America

Lights Out is heading to Wembley - Pic by Doug Pensinger, Getty Images North America

The San Diego Chargers have officially announced this afternoon that Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman, their outstanding linebacker will ‘forego surgery on his knee’ to play in the 2008 NFL season.

This is fantastic news for all the NFL fans in England (and other parts of the UK and in Europe) who will make the annual pilgrimage to Wembley Stadium to see the Chargers take on the New Orleans Saints in London on October 26, in only the second NFL regular season game to take place in Europe.

Lights Out is a beast, a human wrecking machine, and 39.5 sacks in 42 career games is proof that he is a true superstar.

Only Merriman will know if he is kidding himself by saying that he will play through the pain. He does risk blowing his entire career, but with the 2008 NFL season just over a week away, its just too appetising for Shawne to not want to taste success.

The Chargers have a realistic shot at the Superbowl this season, and Merriman is one of the keys to victory, with his high adrenaline play and his ability to frighten the heck out of opposing teams.

It’s no coincidence that Merriman wears #56 after the Hall of Fame stud and former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. It was Taylor who redefined the game, making left offensive tackles get much bigger salaries.

Look at the #1 pick in the NFL draft this year – offensive lineman Jake Long. He was drafted to protect the quarterback from the likes of Merriman, as much as to clear the lanes for Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Having the NFL circus come to England in 2008 will again be special, waving a torch because Merriman will be looking to turn Drew Brees lights out makes it just that bit more special.

Merriman you are a brave man and NFLFANINENGLAND salutes your decision.

Good or bad idea – let me know……

Ed Johnson #99 my best DT (not good)

Ed Johnson #99 my best DT (not good)

With just over 2 months to go until the BBFL begins season 3 my Redskins team needs big help at one position for sure, and that is Defensive Tackle.

In the Action PC game all defenders are rated out of 10 against the run, out of 10 against the pass, and can have a pass rush value up to 7 (the likes of Shawne Merriman and DeMarcus Ware).

Exceptional defenders have an overall rating of 10+ (the likes of NFL defensive player of the year in 2007 – Colts safety Bob Sanders).  Don’t forget in this league we have 55 man rosters, but its based on the NFL players REAL 2007 NFL stats.

My defensive tackles are rated as (1st number run defense rating, 2nd number pass rush ability rating)

Vonnie Holliday 6 – 1 (12 NFL games played out of 16 for the 1-15 Dolphins)

Ed Johnson 5 -1 (16 NFL games played as a Colt rookie) I picked this guy up in the offseason as a free agent

Michael Myers 4 – 1 (15 NFL games played but 4 is a poor rating)

Dwan Edwards 5 – 1 (16 NFL games played as DL and DE) – I also picked this guy up in the offseason as a free agent

This is without doubt the poorest set of defensive tackles in the whole league (20 total teams). So I have work to do !

I am offering up Plaxico Burres the giraffe like New York Giants wideout for a DT with a 7 rating or above.

Do any of you think any of my 4 defensive tackles have any prospects in 2008 ?

I think in true Princess Leia style ‘my only hope’ is Ed Johnson at the Colts, a man who was not even drafted but had in all respects a very sound rookie outing.

Let’s say at this stage I am nervous about all 19 of my opponents 3rd string running backs, let alome their 3rd down backs and starters.

How important do you rate DT’s in the grand scheme of NFL positions ?

389 tackles in three NFL seasons is quite a respectable output for a linebacker, averaging almost 130 tackles a season. Problem is it wasn’t enough for the New York Jets to keep Jonathan Vilmaon their roster, and in February this year he was traded to the Wembley bound New Orleans Saints.

The Saints starting linebackers from 2007 were hardly the same class as the great Saints ‘backers of the late 1980s (the Dome Patrol of Pat Swilling, Sam Mills, Ricky Jackson and Vaughan Johnson) with Mark Simoneau, Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle all performing to their best ability, but lets be frank, not at a Pro Bowl standard.

Vilma on the other hand is already a Pro-Bowl veteran, having made the game as an alternate in 2006, following on from his outstanding 2005 season, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The big debate as far as Vilma goes is that he was playing in the wrong defensive scheme as a New York Jet, in a 3-4 defense, but has found a true calling with the Saints as the star inside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

Vilma’s 2007 season was a write-off after just 7 games, with  a bone defect. This means the Saints were taking somewhat of a gamble by picking up his tab.

I will be really looking forward to seeing Jonathan Vilma roam the hallowed Wembley turf for the NFL International game against the San Diego Chargers on October 26.

Vilma is no Ray Lewis, and he is certainly not the same type of defender as the Chargers 2006 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne ‘Lights Out’ Merriman, as he is disciplined as a tackler, and does not spend his time trying to crush quarterbacks.

He has the opportunity with the Saints to become an instant fan favourite, and get around 110 to 120 tackles and maybe even three or four turnovers.

Lets hope Vilma’s road to recovery from his disappointing 2007 campaign runs through London, and over 80,000 fans get to see Vilma wrapping up the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates in the Red Zone of a most likely soggy Wembley Stadium.

I think Vilma will make a solid comeback and help propel the Saints to a wild-card and a record of 10-6.

How far the Saints can go if they make the playoff party is anyones guess after the Giants shocked the NFL world to lift the Lombardi Trophy in 2008 (via Wembley of course !!!) .

Will Vilma be a stud or a bust – give me your views…………