FanPost

Merriman’s chances of being a Charger in 2011…

 

Before I get started, does anyone know if Vegas has any odds established on this one yet?

 

So I’m sure most of you now know about the “respect campaign” that Merriman is on now, threatening to hold out unless the team can give some sort of verbal commitment that he isn’t on the trading block.  He does have a point: if he’s trying to be a leader of the team and the players around him don’t know if he’ll be around the full season or not, it sweeps the legs out from under him.  However, that is also assuming that the players around him on the team follow all of AJ’s comments, which I bet the majority of them do not, and the others only know because reporters tell them what AJ said and hope to get a juicy retort that they can print.

 

Either way, he’s holding out until he feels respected by the organization.  I’ve established that not only through the post here on BFTB but also from the numerous tweets from Merriman’s twitter account that links to different media outlets which all carry the same story for his “respect campaign.”

 

So, in light of recent events, what are Merriman’s chances of being a Charger in 2011?  The answer isn’t a simple one.

This is a good question, but quite dependent on not only Shawne’s performance this upcoming season, but also the performance of some of the younger OLB’s on the roster.

Obviously Larry English is under the magnifying glass from the coaching staff to see if he has what it takes to be a starting OLB at this level.  He showed potential last year and gained a lot of PT (probably more than the coaches would have preferred) because of the ineffectiveness of Merriman last year.

 

Antwan Applewhite was my “dark horse” candidate last year (uhmmm…looking back on it that sounds pretty bad).  He has shown great potential in his time in San Diego and I was looking for him to break out in situational play last season, but he got injured and there went that prediction.  I don’t have the measurements handy but I’m betting this guy has the longest arms of the OLBs and possibly on the entire defense.

 

Jyles Tucker hasn’t really shown much since he signed his contract extension.  AJ may have jumped the gun on that one, but much like Applewhite he could have had an opportunity to shine last season if he hadn’t been injured.  I will be very interested in watching him battle with Applewhite for reps this season.

 

So, with the competition analyzed, I will now throw some completely subjective numbers out there:


If no other youngsters step up and Merriman:
a) improves over last season and again shows flashes of greatness - 90% chance of returning.
b) remains the same as last season - 50% chance.
c) degrades in performance over last season - 10% chance.

If one youngster steps up and shows flashes of greatness up and Merriman:
a) improves over last season and again shows flashes of greatness - 50% chance of returning.
b) remains the same as last season - 10% chance.
c) degrades in performance over last season - 0% chance.

If two youngsters step up and show starting potential and Merriman:
a) improves over last season and again shows flashes of greatness - 20% chance of returning.
b) remains the same as last season - 0% chance.
c) degrades in performance over last season - 0% chance.

The wild card that isn’t factored in above is if Merriman becomes the unquestioned leader of the defense.  If he does, that great enhances his chances of getting a new deal to wear the lightning bolts.


I think the ideal scenario here for the team is that at least two of these youngsters show flashes of brilliance this season as well as Merriman returning to form, and the team would be able to franchise tag Merriman then trade him away to another team, knowing that it’s youngsters could step in and replace him without missing a beat.  (Sorry, long sentence) That’s only the ideal scenario, and not very realistic since the youngsters won’t really have a chance to shine if Merriman returns to form.  The team could also choose to keep Merriman and trade Phillips in this case, if Merriman steps up as the leader of the defense.

 

Obviously the team is most set up for success if Merriman returns to Pro-Bowl form and it gives them more options in dealing with him for 2011.  A dominant Merriman frees up the OLB opposite him for a one-on-one matchup, sometimes with a TE or RB to block him.  I like our chances in that situation.  A dominant Merriman makes the defense better.  

 

Most likely scenario and my prediction:

Merriman will be improved over last season but not quite back to 2006-2007 form, and one of the youngsters will really step up.  This gives Merriman a 50-50 shot at returning.  If he becomes the leader of the defense, he stays.  If not, he’s gone.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.

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