The Buffalo Bills still think Shawne Merriman can provide them some sort of meaningful pass rush, even if the veteran himself sounds unsure.
Merriman was re-signed by the Bills on Monday, providing depth along a defensive line that is currently without end Mark Anderson (knee) and tackle Spencer Johnson (ankle) because of injuries.
A week ago on Twitter, a fan tweeted to Merriman: “looks like bills shoulda kept yalights out,” referring to the player by his nickname.
“No they shouldn’t have i’m not a defensive end in this league,” he wrote back.
The Bills apparently think otherwise.
“You can never have too many guys that we believe can rush the passer. With Mark being out – and not only Mark being out – but Spencer, who was kind of our swing guy being out, we’d rather not go into a game with just three defensive ends,” coach Chan Gailey said in explaining the decision. “And we don’t know how long Spencer is going to be, so we’re going to sign Shawne back and hopefully he’ll give us some pass rush off the edge.”
The Bills said Merriman was not available for comment Monday. He was at One Bills Drive earlier in the day and sat in on the defensive line meeting, according to Chris Kelsay.
“It’s good to have him back. It’s always nice when you can bring a guy back that’s acquainted and comfortable with the scheme and the system that we’re in,” Kelsay said. “He’s a guy that’s a veteran. He knows how to go about his business. He knows what’s expected, so he’s going to come right in and pick right up where he left off.
“We aren’t doing anything different than what we were doing when he was here. There’s a few different blitzes and stuff like that he’ll have to learn, but for the most part he can just step right back out there.”
Merriman played in five games with the Bills last season before a long-troublesome Achilles tendon injury landed him on injured reserve. He had surgery and came to training camp hoping to earn a job as a 4-3 defensive end under new coordinator Dave Wannstedt’s scheme. That’s a position he had never played before, having previously always been a 3-4 outside linebacker. Merriman, who was beaten out for a job by Kyle Moore, never seemed to have a problem in a reserve role, despite his big-name recognition.
“Shawne’s a great dude. He’s a guy that came right in and fit well. Great personality. We don’t have a lot of egos on this team,” Kelsay said. “To have him back, it’ll add something to our defense.”
In making room for Merriman, the Bills released defensive tackle Jay Ross and center David Snow. They were signed Saturday to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, replacing safety Delano Howell and running back Johnny White.
Howell was re-signed Monday to fill out the 53-man roster. The rookie was the only undrafted free agent to make the team out of training camp.