With so much controversy and question surrounding Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill this offseason, many people have overlooked the fact that linebacker Shawne Merriman has been in a similar situation as the other two.
However, he has not been as vocal about his intentions, and many would assume that he will be at training camp when it starts tomorrow. Part of the reason for his hide in the shadow tactics is due to the fact that he hasn’t been as productive as he should have been in recent years and appears to have fallen from grace as the dominant, intimidating linebacker that we all used to know and love.
So after spending most of 2009 on the sideline, it should be safe to say that Merriman should be back to form and ready to practice by now right? Or at least be willing to show up so that he can put in the time to get himself back to his Pro-Bowl form? Well head coach Norv Turner thinks so…
“Because of the things he’s been through, he could benefit greatly from having a full, great training camp and getting back to doing the things he does healthy,” Turner said in an interview with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I don’t care who you are, if you are not 100 percent… there are things you can’t do that you used to do, you’re not instinctive. The way you get those things back is by going 100 mph and practicing.”
So Turner’s stance on where Merriman should be tomorrow is pretty cut and dry. Merriman has done a good job of keeping his distance from the Chargers this offseason, but if he wants to come back and be the electrifying force that he has been in the past, now is the time for him to show up and put in the work. We will see tomorrow whether he is up to the challenge that Turner has layed out for him, or if he will continue to be a no show down in San Diego.
If Merriman decides to keep the lights out on the Chargers and someone else can step up in training camp and prove that they can fill the void adequately, look for Merriman to be headed somewhere else in the not so distant future.