Things have not gone well for Buffalo Bills pass rusher Aaron Maybin throughout his first two NFL seasons. Written off by most before his 23rd birthday thanks to a dearth of playing time and even less impact, Maybin - whose spot on the roster is tenuous, according to his own head coach - still has at least one supporter in teammate Shawne Merriman.
Merriman, who appeared on WGR 550's The Howard Simon Show Thursday morning, expressed confidence in his long-time friend.
"Of course I have faith in him," Merriman told Simon. "I got a chance to know Maybin from years ago, and the want-to is there. The work ethic, all those things are there. When you come in drafted that early in football, you have to perform. If you don't perform, then people start putting these labels on you that you don't need to have. I can understand why people would be upset or a little down on him because he hasn't performed up to their potential yet, or up to his potential. But at the same time, this is a kid who plays football, who is good, who has to learn how to play football."
Merriman believes that Maybin, along with more-productive youngster Arthur Moats, simply need to better understand the nuances of the game to realize their full potential.
"These guys have to start learning the game of football, learning how to play football," Merriman said. "Everything else is there. The want-to is there. That's the key part, the want-to is there, to go out and play the game of football. Everything else has to come along in learning how to do it."
For his part, Merriman tried to help out the young rush linebackers in his brief stint with the team in 2010, even though he didn't appear in a single game.
"My job was when I got there to kind of show him some of the things I know, that I picked up along the way playing football," Merriman said. "Kind of just give him tips and pointers."
Be sure to check out the full interview, as Merriman was very candid about why he chose to return, what he feels he needs to prove in 2011, and his thoughts on GM Buddy Nix and the direction the team is headed.