Randy Moss and Shawne Merriman: 10 Teams Who Could Use Both
Shawne Merriman and Randy Moss have seven Pro Bowls between them, and are currently out of work. Merriman, a former Chargers defensive stalwart has battled injury and the San Diego front office for the past year. Moss on the other hand, was traded by the Patriots to the Vikings only to be released after four games.
Both players come with baggage, but both are extremely talented. Let's take a look at 10 teams who could use both players to make a push for the playoffs.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
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Why the Jaguars need Randy Moss?
At 4-4, the Jaguars are not yet eliminated from the playoff hunt. Playing in a difficult AFC South, however, complicates matters. The acquisition of a guy like Moss would make this offense quite a bit more dynamic. With Maurice Jones-Drew running the ball, and Mike Sims-Walker on one side of the field, defenses would have trouble loading up against either pass or run.
Like we saw in Minnesota, even if Moss isn't catching balls, he forces defenses to rotate which would open up opportunities for other receivers and keep safeties out of run defense.
Why the Jaguars need Shawne Merriman?
Right now their defense is pretty miserable. They rank 28th against the pass and 22nd against the run. They have given up more than 20 points in all but one of their games. Merriman would likely replace Justin Durant or Daryl Smith in the the starting lineup.
Neither players is capable of disrupting defenses the way Merriman can. His acquisition, assuming he's healthy enough to be effective, would provide a huge lift to a defense with showdowns against Indianapolis, Houston, Tennessee and the New York giants looming.
9. St. Louis Rams
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Why the Rams need Randy Moss?
Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford has been surprisingly effective with a depleted receiving corps. Despite throwing to guys like Danny Amendola for much of the season, the Rams have put together four wins. If they can muster a little more offense, they can challenge for a playoff spot in a weak NFC West. Moss would give Bradford a legitimate deep threat and open up the field for Steven Jackson.
Why the Rams need Shawne Merriman?
James Laurinaitis and Na'il Diggs are both capable linebackers, but Shawne Merriman would certainly bolster the third linebacking spot. His ability to rush the passer would complement DE Chris Long.
A little extra strength on both offense and defense could make the Rams a legitimate playoff contender.
8. Seattle Seahawks
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Why the Seahawks need Randy Moss?
The Seahawks currently rank 25th in passing yards. The career resurgence of Mike Williams under new coach Pete Carroll would continue with a Moss acquisition. Quarterback Matt Hasselback would also welcome a new receiving option after the departure of Deion Branch to New England.
Moss would allow the Seahawks to stretch defenses and take some pressure off of Williams and TE Jon Carlson to produce.
Why the Seahawks need Merriman?
While the Seahawks do a decent job defending the run, giving up just over 100 YPG, Merriman would be more effective in pass defense. He could replace either Aaron Curry or David Hawthorne alongside Lofa Tatupu. M
erriman would be able to rush the passer and destabilize offenses in the NFC West. His ability to disrupt offenses would be amplified because of the young and inexperienced quarterbacks he would face off against in the conference.
7. Washington Redskins
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Why the Redskins need Randy Moss?
If the quarterback controversy in Washington dies down, Moss would be a great fit for Donovan McNabb. McNabb is an excellent deep ball thrower, and needs someone other than Santana Moss that can stretch defenses. McNabb's offenses in Philly and to a lesser extent in Washington, have relied on the big play. Moss is that big play guy that would make the Redskins difficult to defend.
Why the Redskins need Merriman?
While their pass rush is effective with the emergence of Brian Orakpo, Merriman, coming off the other edge, would force teams to block both individually. Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh and Shawne Merriman would form one of the more intimidating linebacking corps in the league, and would improve a shaky pass and run defense.
This, however, is pretty unlikely, given Shanahan's unwillingness to take on more controversy. While the acquisition of both players might seriously benefit the 'Skins, don't count on it happening.
6. Oakland Raiders
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Why the Raiders need Randy Moss?
In his last few games, Darren McFadden has emerged as the game breaking running-back the Raiders hoed he would be when they drafted him. Teams will now look to load the box and stuff Oakland's rushing attack. Receivers like Louis Murphy and Darius Heyward-Bey won't strike fear into defenses, but Randy Moss will.
Moss will be the first prime-time receiver that Jason Campbell has ever thrown to, and give the Raiders' offense a lot more versatility.
Why the Raiders need Shawne Merriman?
The Raiders are pretty thin at linebacker, and Kamerion Wimbley is battling a groin injury. Merriman would provide some depth at the linebacker position, and is an upgrade over Wimbley and Quentin Groves. Furthermore, this linebacking group is very young. Merriman, an experienced player, could mentor and coach this young group.
5. Green Bay Packers
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Why the Packers need Randy Moss?
Hear me out on this. While the Packers passing attack is prolific, they have been forced to play without a healthy Donald Driver. It looks like Driver will sit out of the Packers game this week against the Cowboys. A healthy Moss is an upgrade over Driver, and his ability to get behind defenses would allow Rodgers to showcase his arm.
Moss going to the Packers would also be fun for fans, since the Packers have to play the Vikings and the Patriots again this season.
Why the Packers need Merriman?
In point of fact, the Packers are ok without Merriman, but his acquisition would make the Packers tough to block in passing situations. Clay Matthews has been a terror this season. If the Packers were able to line Merriman up on the oposite side of the ball, teams would be forced to either max-protect, or put their tackles on an island. I like Merriman and Matthews to win those matchups.
4. Chicago Bears
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Why the Bears need Moss?
Right now, interception machine Jay Cutler has no legitimate No. 1 receiver. Johnny Knox has been good this season, but he is nowhere near the receiver that Moss is. Moss's presence would force defenses to honor the deep ball, and limit their ability to sell out on the blitz.
Cutler would have a better chance to catch blitzing defenses with Moss in the lineup. And, like playing for the Packers, Moss would get a crack at the two teams that bounced him this season.
Why the Bears need Merriman?
The Bears linebacking corps is relatively strong with Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But right now, Julius Peppers has been relatively ineffective in getting to the quarterback, and Tommie Harris has four tackles on the season. Merriman's arrival would force offenses to account for one more dangerous player in their blocking scheme, giving Harris and Peppers more opportunities to make plays up front.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Why the Bucs need Moss?
The Bucs are a surprising 5-2 right now and have a legitimate opportunity to make the playoffs. To do so, however, they need to leapfrog either Atlanta or New Orleans. Josh Freeman has emerged as the quarterback of the future and receiver Mike Williams has had a very productive rookie season.
Moss would provide Freeman with another weapon and could mentor the young Williams. His presence would also open up opportunities for LaGarrette Blount who has become an effective runner for the Bucs in his rookie season.
Why the Bucs need Merriman?
To beat the Saints and Falcons, the Bucs need to disrupt Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. A healthy Merriman can do this. Merriman could replace Geno Hayes who has had a quiet season despite a big game this past Sunday.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
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Why the Chiefs need Moss?
Matt Cassel hasn't been as effective or dynamic as many had hoped when he arrived in KC and the Chiefs are last in the league in passing yards. But, with the acquisition of former teammate, Moss, Cassel's production could take off.
In 2008, Moss hauled in 11 touchdowns from Cassel, and their chemistry could prove valuable to this team. It would also take the pressure off of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones in the running game.
Why the Chiefs need Merriman?
The Chiefs defense has been effective against the run, but struggled with the pass. Merriman would help the Chiefs pass defense (am I beating a dead horse here?). He likely wouldn't be asked to do all that much, other than spell tired defenders.
This added depth, and his utility on third down, would make him a valuable acquisition.
1. Houston Texans
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Why the Texans need Moss?
Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league. He can go deep, play over the middle, and pick up short third down yardage. Moss is a little less versatile, but his big play ability is unmatched. Moss could replace a disappointing Jacoby Jones and immediately take the pressure off of an ailing Andre Johnson.
Teams would be unable to roll coverage over to cover one receiver for fear of the other. This would instantly become the most dynamic receiving corps in the league. As the Texans battle for a playoff spot, this improved firepower against the defenses of the Jets, Ravens, and Titans.
Why the Texans need Merriman?
While this isn't necessarily the best fit from a long term perspective, in the short term the Texans need linebackers. Brian Cushing has been forced to play middle linebacker to replace the injured DeMeco Ryans. Merriman could move into Cushing's old spot and be nearly as disruptive as the second year player.
The addition of Merriman would certainly shore up a defense badly in need of an improved pass rush and pass defense.