Inside The Bills

Why Merriman is a fit at DE

Posted by Chris Brown on May 31, 2012 – 5:30 pm

After playing virtually his entire pro career in a 3-4 defensive system, some outside observers openly wonder if he can handle a defensive end role in Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3 defense. Answer? Yes.

First, GM Buddy Nix himself laid out the measurables they look for in a defensive end in a 4-3 system last winter at the close of the 2011 season.

“As an outside backer in a 3-4 you want a guy 6’4” or 6’5” 255 or 260. In a 4-3 those guys are defensive ends. If he’s that size and he can rush the passer he can play in either one.”

Merriman is listed at 6’4” 261 pounds. Add in the fact that he’s uncommonly strong and an underrated run defender and transitioning to defensive end shouldn’t even be an issue.

“I’ve played in the 4-3 and 3-4 and everywhere in between,” Merriman said. “I didn’t really look at is as a big deal when I had to put my hand in the dirt because last year, even when I was playing, we were 60 percent nickel which is basically with your hand in the dirt so I had to play D-end.”


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