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Shawne Merriman, Former All-Pro Linebacker

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2023 7:39 pm

Shawne Merriman, Former All-Pro Linebacker

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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September 19, 2023 7:39 pm

Shawne Merriman joined Zach to discuss if Brandon Staley could get fired in-season and his favorite defensive player to watch. 

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One-year upgrade requires financing, qualifying, device and upgrading in good condition after six months with half paid off. Sean, always great to see you. Thanks for coming in. How are you? I'm doing well, my man. How about yourself?

Well, I'm doing fantastic. So, I saw the video that you put out right after the Aaron Rodgers injury and your career towards the end of it, you had an Achilles injury as well. I can't even imagine the pain that that is when you have the Achilles injury.

And it was almost as if when you saw Rodgers, he was in a state of shock and he stands up, tries to walk, knows he can't, just goes down and he knew that was it. Yeah, I think the biggest thing with the injury, especially with Achilles, that people don't know how important it is until you tear it, right? You think of this little ligament that's back there, you're not thinking about it. And then the next thing you know, when you do tear it, your foot drops. And so when he stood up the first time, it was, he didn't know. It literally feels like someone MMA kicked you in the back of your calf. And when he stood up, I'm sure he looked around to find out who kicked him because it's a pain like someone kicked you.

And when he tried to take that first step is when he went back down to the ground. That's when you know you officially tear it. Even Kobe Bryant, when he tore his, he still got to the foul line and shot a couple free throws. So it's not as bad as a quarterback tearing is.

It's worse for a defensive guy or a guy that has to change direction and explode. I think Aaron Rodgers would be fine and come back from it. But it is the worst injury, in my opinion, to come back from. No one wants their career to end on an injury.

But when you get up there in age, like the competitor says, I got to get back on the field. But then also probably the human side of you go, do I really want to go through all this crazy rehab to get myself back in game shape? What was that like process for you when you were going through recovering from the injury? Because you still have to recover even if you're going to play football or not. Well, the physical part of it is not so bad. You know, it's long, it's grueling, you know, a lot of getting the tissue out, getting that strong again and feeling normal. The hardest part of that injury is the mental aspect when you come back, because what caused you to tear it and pop it as he did or anybody to pop their Achilles.

Now that's in back of your head. If I push off of this thing again, is it going to pop again? That's the hardest thing. So when I came back, I actually was fine physically. I felt normal. Now, when I say normal, you're never going to have that explosion back as you were. The Achilles is one of the ones you don't bounce back from as the same. I don't care who you are.

No one does. It was a mental part of it that going out, pushing, turning, having an offensive lineman that's 330 plus pounds, pushing it on you at the same time as you're bursting. So in your head, you're thinking the whole time that if I do something wrong here, push the wrong way, is this thing going to pop on me again? He's going to have a mental battle to get back on the field first before the physical kick in. And it's a great point that you bring up because I always say it with quarterbacks. I know it's a different injury, but whenever it's ACL, the quarterback comes back and he's good when he comes back from the ACL injury. But you don't see him get back to that great level until a full year after it because that mental side of it is what people really don't understand and figure out.

Oh yeah. You try not to go out and think about it, but especially how he tore here is with someone behind him, jumping on his back and him fully extending his leg. Now, when you pop your Achilles, most of the time it pops from your heel bone. It detaches. That's when it rolls back up into your calf. It pops. And so you're going to be thinking, hey, the next time someone jumps on my back, is that thing going to go?

So the mental aspect is what he's really going to have to work on to get himself back on again. Sean Merriman here with Dustin Studio will of course talk about the new card they have coming up for Lights Out Extreme Fighting. So we were sitting here watching some highlights on NFL Network and the Packers come up.

We're at a bunch of stations right now in Wisconsin. You go, I've been really impressed with that kid in Jordan Love. What has stood out to you so far? That I was wrong. I was wrong because this is my opinion of Jordan Love.

And I know the season, we just started a couple of games in and we've got the season to play on to see how they do for that season. But I always thought that if they didn't find a way to get him on the field that second or third year, then he probably wasn't good enough. They saw something that we didn't see in order to put him on the field because when you draft a guy in the first round, I don't care who's in front of him, you want him on the field as fast as possible or else you go get a wide receiver, a big defensive player, offensive lineman, right, to build up around Aaron Rodgers.

I always thought the reason why that happened is because they didn't believe in him. I was wrong. You know, he's come out, he's firing on all cylinders. It seems like the team is rallying behind him. He's making some passes that I didn't think that he had in him to make. So, you know, I'd be wrong once in a while. Trust me, I'm wrong like six or seven times a week.

Don't worry, no one's going to bat a thousand here. Sean Merriman's here with us. The team part of it, though, is a big component. And you talk about how the locker room loves him.

I also watched two other guys. And like Brock Purdy, right, Steve Young told me over the summer, he just has like the force there and the team really believes in him. But I've been impressed as well with Baker Mayfield where his career was basically over, down and out. And we just had Lavonte David on it a few moments ago, as you know, and it's like that locker room's really believing in Baker Mayfield right now. And I don't think that's easy to quickly go into a locker room with all these things that people say about you and win over the locker room that easily. But the biggest thing with Baker Mayfield, he has the intangibles, right?

A team leader, attitude, leader, he knows how to be a leader. That's what got him drafted as high as he did because of those intangibles. I think there's been a combination of a couple things in Baker Mayfield's career is that playing on a bad team, maybe a bad front office, bad coordinator, not put him in great positions, and also not living up to the expectation of being the number one pick. You know, if Baker Mayfield was a late first round, early second, no one would be complaining. But when you go that number one pick and that high in the drive, the expectations for you are unreal. It's almost that you can't reach him no matter how good you play when you're that number one pick. You can't throw in the interceptions. You can't turn a ball over.

You got to be this superstar. And if you're not that, you're a failure. If Baker Mayfield went anything less, he would be considered a success in the NFL, but the fact is he went so high, he's never going to be able to live up to that expectation of where he got drafted to. I'll tell you, the team that I'm most disappointed with through the first two weeks of the season are your Chargers. Two close games and they don't find a way to win one of those games. I hate to put it all on the coach because it's not all on the coach, but it seems like he's a dead man walking with the Los Angeles Chargers, Brandon Staley. It's not good right now.

I'm charges through and through. Those are my guys for life. They need to answer quick and they need to fix what's going on right now. Because with this team that I'll give Tom Tolesco credit for, I think he assembled a great team. If you look on paper and every position with these guys, they got an all pro or pro bowler or something in every single position. For them to be playing the way they are right now is unacceptable.

It's unexplainable actually. And I was at the game against Miami and on defense, they just looked like they were lost. They couldn't line up calling too many switches last second before the play. It's almost like they had a check for a check, right? The offense do something.

We checked two, three times and then they're not out playing fast. I was fortunate because I came into the NFL with Marty Schonheim as a head coach and Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator. I had John Pagano, Greg Manunsky, all were linebacker coaches.

I had great coaches. Sometimes when you have a Derwin James, a Joey Bosa, a Khalil Mack, a J.C. Jackson, Kendricks, all those, you need to let them play football. Let those guys go out there and line up and play football. You can't have a check for a check having those guys out there thinking they're not playing fast.

Wade Phillips idea was, hey, you're going to do 80% of what you're great at and 20% of what you're not. We want to keep you out of every position where you can go out and make a play. Right now, it just seems that they're lost and they're not lining up correctly. They're slow getting off the ball and they're just thinking too much instead of going out and playing football. Your team is too good.

You have too many good players not to let them go out and play football. Right now, I can't put a finger on what's going on because if your offense can score 30 plus points a game, you should win 80% of your games. If they're going out and putting up 30 plus points a game, you should win.

And the fact is, even in the shootout, if a score was 34-28, 34-31, you can't lose those games if your offense is giving you 30 plus points. I know Justin Herbert is going to take the brunt of... He's the quarterback. He's the quarterback. Big contract.

He's the guy. But ultimately, they're giving you 30 plus points a game. The defense has to step up and make things happen. I look at it, and we were talking about this yesterday, and there's still a lot of the season left. I don't think they're going to make a change in season. And it's two offensive guys, but these were the two guys...

Listen, I don't see it that way. Oh, you think they could fire Scaly in the season? I think they could.

Interesting. I think they could. Because, look, at the end of the day, this is a performance-based business, and this is from top down. This is from the head coach, front office. If Tom Telesco wasn't doing what he was supposed to do, they would find a way to move him.

This is a performance-based business. If anyone believes that they're going to sit back and let what's happening right now continue to happen, and no one's job is going to be on the line, they're wrong. I absolutely believe if this keeps up, they have to make a decision. And I don't know what that decision is going to be, who's going to go, who's going to stay.

But at the end of the day, when you have this type of team with this group, this talented group, they've got to win or they've got to make a decision. And the two names that I thought of, and it would be after the season, where you would look for the full-time replacement, it was Jim Harbaugh, if he wants to leave Michigan. And then also, what Eric Bienemey is doing right now with the commanders. How many more years does that guy get to go without getting a head coaching job in this league? Well, I don't think, look, Eric Bienemey, he is making changes right now. We're seeing the full effects of Eric Bienemey's, what he brought to that team. Regardless of what the team said, he's being too hard on them, he's too harsh. But they could use that to discharge his team. Stanley's too much of a player's coach.

Too much. Well, there's nothing wrong with having a player's coach, but you have to perform, right? And so when you have a player's coach and they're, I'm not going to say they're not respecting him, but in people's eyes, he's too friendly with them, he's too close. That's fine when you're winning games.

If that's not working, then something needs to change. And, you know, they've got too many veterans on here. And by the way, I want to just say this, some of the greatest teams I've played on, the players, we ran a team, right? If a guy wasn't doing what he's supposed to do to play it, we fixed that. If I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do, you had a Sean Phillips, a La'Dannion Thompson, Lorenzo Neal, they came over and said, hey, you can't miss that tackle. So the players have to be accountable first.

And now the coach has just got to sit back and coach. Talking to Sean Merriman right now in the studio, I'm just wondering, you watch a ton of games each and every weekend. There's so many great defensive players in this league, even though the league tries to prevent defense from actually being played. Who's like the one guy that you go, man, that's the best defensive player that you see in the NFL right now. I think between, listen, Micah Parsons. He's a stud. Nick Bosa, I love Nick Bosa. T.J. Watt, the display he did. I mean, these are great players and beyond great. They're excellent players. Micah Parsons, we haven't seen nothing like that in 15 plus years.

We haven't seen, maybe ever. He has a combination of, because he's a little shorter, he has this leverage, the speed of a running back, the strength of a big defensive end. I think we was on the last year when he humped the San Francisco 49ers tackle, this 300 plus pounds, like your 12 year old kid.

It was like a ragdoll, yeah. And so, and then too, the final, what makes Micah Parsons so great is you can line him up anywhere. He doesn't have to come from the left or right side. He can work down the middle of your guard or your center. And when that happens, you can't key on guys like that because you can fan protect, slide protect, put two guys on him, but you don't know where he's going to line up. So if you, the reason why that defense is playing so well is because he's causing so much havoc that the rest of those guys are doing well. And then Stephon Gilmore and Diggs on the, like they don't have, all offenses don't have a lot of time to throw the ball. This is, as a pass rusher, defensive player, this is the funnest defense to play in because you know as a cornerback, they got to get rid of the ball in less than three seconds.

He's going to be sacked. As a pass rusher, you got two great cornerbacks that's going to get after you that they can't, they're going to hold the ball, pump, and you're going to have some covered sacks. Right now, especially on defense, maybe even on offense, Dallas Cowboys are one of the scariest teams in the NFL right now. We're talking to Sean Merriman right now.

We'll talk about lights out, extreme fighting in just a bit. I got to ask you about Coach Prime. I love what he's doing at Colorado. It's been so fun.

It's been must watch, right? He made the game up against Colorado State where everyone in the world wants to be there or is tuning in. If you were a recruit right now, would you be like, man, I really want to get recruited by Colorado and join that place? I said this when he was at Jackson State. If Deion Sanders, Deion Prime Time Sanders, as a high school kid comes to sit on your living room couch. Wow. You're going there.

You're going there. I mean, even myself as a kid, I did a Deion Sanders dance in the backyard and, you know, this is Deion Sanders. And he did that at Jackson State. What's going to happen at Colorado now? You're going to see some like five star guys that would have gone to Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, somewhere. That's going to be going to Colorado because they see the eyeballs that he's getting, the viewership, the content that he's posted on social media, the sold out stadiums. They see that. Now you got Prime Time Deion Sanders sitting on your living room couch talking to your mom, your dad, and you saying, hey, we want to get behind you because now he's going to have probably about four or five guys that go to win the top three rounds on that team in the next year or two, at least.

And here's the thing for me. Everyone talks about, right, the new era with NIL and the transfer portal and he aces all that stuff. But I think what gets lost here is this is like an old school football coach and he'll be the first person to tell that.

I think it's in the year of twenty twenty three, the mix of both worlds where there's still some old school traditional values. But then he understands what really pops on social media. Yeah, no doubt about it. And he's smart because one of the one of the biggest reasons why I went to the University of Maryland was Michael Locksley, who's the head coach. He was a running back coach when I got there. He, you know, myself, E.J. Henderson, Dequayle Jackson, Oliver, we went there because for the most part because of Michael Locksley. Now from Maryland, I grew up twenty twenty twenty five minutes from the school and that's home. But what a large part of that was because Michael Locksley, we can all relate to him.

He's from the Washington, D.C. area. Very relatable to what we know. Deion Sanders is going to be able to relate because he has kids, younger kids, his kids play there. So he can relate to those new kids that's coming in there. Know what to say, know how to act, but also can draw the line and boundaries and saying, I'm the coach and have that respect. So he has this combination of, you know, having his son junior to run all the social media. The content is is very, very I mean, they have the great it's so entertaining.

They have the best, in my opinion, they have the best content in in college football right now because they really put some money behind it. And put a lot of thought in there. So the combination is going to have Deion Sanders winning there for a long time.

And here's the interesting part. He said it the other day that he doesn't think he would go coach in the NFL. But like if I'm a college kid and he brings up a good point, Deion is is one of the great motivators of of all time. If I'm 18, 19 years old and you hear the messages and the personal stuff that that Deion brings up Coach Prime. It's like you run through a wall for that guy when you're 18, 19 years old.

Yeah. And he said it right because it wouldn't work in the NFL. Yeah, it just wouldn't.

And there's nothing about a way. There's nothing wrong with that. Some guys are meant for college football. Nothing wrong with that because I think that because of who Deion Sanders is and he's the greatest. You know, one of the greatest players of all time. But if you bring that into an NFL locker room and kind of stand toe to toe with a guy that's making 15, 20 plus million a year. He has a wife and kids. He has.

And then you kind of step to him. These these adults are not going to look at Deion Sanders as the best football player of all time with a coach. They're going to feel threatened. And so that's why they're not.

It wouldn't work on NFL level. But as college, you're trying. He's trying to mold them into young men and put them on the right path. He there's nobody better when it comes to that side of it because he can talk NFL level.

He can talk college level and how the process in order to get there. All right. Before we let you run, the floor is yours, my friend. Lights out, extreme fighting. Other big card coming up Saturday, October 7th, going in Long Beach, California.

What do you got cooking? Yeah, we got a huge fight. Probably not probably our big. It is our biggest card. A lot of big local fighters and so in SoCal, former UFC's got UFC guys, Albert Morales and Musa Toliver.

Albert fought in the UFC for some time, but we're loaded, man, with these next up and coming superstars. So anybody in the Long Beach area, Southern California area, get your tickets at And if you can't make it there, watch it on Fubo, Fubo TV, Fubo Sports.

If you don't have Fubo, get it. This this one you don't want to miss. When when you look back at this, like, I don't know if you ever were you ever nervous before a game? Oh, yeah, every game, every game, every game.

How about when you're running the show here? You're walking into arena and you have everything's out of your control once once everyone steps in and all the chaos. I'm nervous before every fight. You know, in fact, I have to work out. Oh, yeah, I work.

I work out to kind of drop some of the nerves because you run in the arena steps. Oh, look, I was this close to sparring in the case when they first said they didn't have it done yet. But I think, you know, for me, when you when you love something that much and you got this much invested in it. And I'm not just talking about money. I'm talking about your time and everything, because I believe in growing these next up and coming superstars and getting them seen. You know, we just crossed over like top five, top ten most watched in football sports ever.

And that's behind international soccer. So for me, that's I've always listened to the fans and listen to people. And they're telling us that we're putting out good fights. We're putting out good product. They love what we're doing. And they they keep watching. We're up 75 percent viewership from one fight to the next.

Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Congratulations. We always appreciate you coming on in and good luck the rest of the way.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-30 22:21:40 / 2023-09-30 22:32:30 / 11

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