With the Buffalo Bills transitioning from a base 3-4 defense to a base 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, one of the more difficult players to slot into the new defense has been veteran pass rusher Shawne Merriman. The issue goes beyond his well-documented injury issues; the career 3-4 outside linebacker doesn't have a snug positional fit in the new defense.
Speaking with The Buffalo News from the 2012 NFL Combine, head coach Chan Gailey made it very clear that if Merriman is healthy enough to contribute next season - and he's clearly skeptical about that - Merriman will do so as a situational pass rusher from the right defensive end position.
There had been some thought that Merriman could play the vacant SAM linebacker spot and add a rush threat from there (again, if he's healthy), but Gailey quickly put an end to that idea: ""I’d rather him not," Gailey said. "I think we’d rather him be a right defensive end rushing the passer all the time."
Given that Merriman is still an injury risk and is probably not an every-down player at this point, are you OK with the idea of Merriman entering 2012 training camp as a situational pass-rusher, Bills fans?